Mrs. Vivian (Odessa) Brown West transitioned on January 31, 2024, at the age of ninety-three, in Chesapeake, Virginia. She was born on April 15, 1930, and would have been ninety- four on her next birthday.
Vivian was a member of First Baptist Church for over forty years. As a young woman she understood the importance of being obedient to God, a loving family, serving your community and obtaining an education. She was born in Mayesville, North Carolina to Mr. Elijah Brown and Mrs. Allena Taylor Brown. She attended Norfolk Public Schools and graduated from Virginia State College with a Bachelor of Science in English. In addition, she earned a Master of Arts degree from Hampton Institute in Secondary Education and thirty post graduate hours from various institutions.
Her professional experiences included working for the federal government at Norfolk Naval Base, Adjunct Professor -Tidewater Community College and English teacher with Norfolk Public Schools (Booker T. Washington High School, Granby High School, and Rosemont Middle School). Until her retirement she served as department head for English and Foreign Languages at Rosemont Middle School. While employed by Norfolk Public Schools, Vivian also developed and facilitated In-service presentations for local high school teachers and Norfolk Public Schools English teachers.
Vivian enjoyed facilitating and participating in community service projects. She received awards from local community service organizations, including being honored by the NAACP Area Two as a recipient of a “Tribute to Excellence Award for Community Leadership”. During the 1950s she participated in voter registration for the City of Norfolk’s African American community and continued to promote voter registration through her lifetime. She also authored a federal grant for an after-school literacy program in Chesapeake, VA.
She was a founding member of the Delicados. Inc. and the Chesapeake Women’s Club. Additionally, she held lifetime memberships in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the NAACP. Vivian also held memberships and local, regional and national positions in several organizations, including the Delicados, Links Inc, Moles, Inc. Drifters Inc., Girlfriends, Inc., Coalition of 100 Black Women, Holidays Bridge Club, The Auxiliary to National Dental Association (ANDA), Chums, Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc Silhouettes, Urban League Guild and the Gleaners Ministry-First Baptist Church Bute Street.
Vivian’s friends and family considered her to be generous with her time and creative talents. She was courageous, and thoughtful. Vivian held a special place in her family’s hearts. She was always there to pray, laugh, cry, love and encourage them.
She was predeceased by her loving husband of forty years, Charles H. West, D.D.S., parents, Elijah and Allena Brown, sisters Winifred Brown, Claudine Brown Williams, and Pauline Brown Purdie, nephews Stanley L. Purdie, Jr., Christopher W. Purdie, Ronald T. Smith, Naphish A. Johnson-Smith and Christopher Mercer.
Vivian leaves to cherish her memory, four nieces, Brenda Purdie Smith, Cynthia Purdie Smith, Linda Purdie Newby and Paulette E. Purdie: cousin Bertha Escoffery, Ph.D , and numerous cousins from the Taylor family. She was blessed with thirteen great nieces and nephews, sixteen great, great nieces and nephews and four great, great, great nephews, and nieces.