Sarah Heron Brown McNiell of Maryville died in Nashville, TN April 20, 2019, at the age of 87. Sarah was born in Hialeah, FL to Elmer McIlvaine Brown and Helen Corrie Parker, who preceded her in death. She is also preceded in death by her beloved husband of 56 years, Stuart Percy McNiell, Jr. She is survived by her son Stuart P. McNiell, III (Anna) of Nashville and her daughter Helen Anne McNiell (Antonio Alcala) of Alexandria, VA; by her grandchildren Stuart P. McNiell IV (Hannah Balash) of Pittsburgh, PA, John Patrick McNiell (Allison) of St. Louis MO, Paloma McNiell Alcala and Maya Isabella McNiell Alcala of Alexandria, VA; by great granddaughter Margaret Rose McNiell of Pittsburgh; by her sister, Margaret Anne Brown Tait (John) of Ames, IA, by sisters-in-law Barbara McNiell Handley and Shirley McNiell Heatherly of Maryville; and by many nieces, nephews and cousins. Descended from the Brown family of Maryville and the Parkers of Louisville, TN, Sarah was raised on dairy farms in South Florida and in Maryland. She entered Maryville College in 1949, where she was student body president in 1953 and among the fourth generation of the Brown family to attend the college. After earning her B.A. degree from Maryville in 1953 and an M.A. degree in History from the University of Tennessee in 1954, Sarah began a 40+ year career in higher education at Maryville College, earning her Ph.D in History from the University of Tennessee in 1973, and ultimately retiring in 1995 as the chairman of the MC history department. She was honored with Maryville College’s Alumni Citation in 2000. An active member, Elder and adult Sunday School teacher at New Providence Presbyterian Church, she also served the community as a founding member and officer of the Maryville/Alcoa League of Women Voters, a member of the Blount County Library Board, a founding member and first President of the Blount County Historic Trust, and as Maryville City Historian for 12 years. She was also a member of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and in addition to hiking in the Smokies, enjoyed bird watching, family history, book clubs and international travel. Sarah’s life will be celebrated with a memorial service 11:00 a.m., June 22, 2019 at New Providence Presbyterian Church, Maryville. The family suggests memorial contributions to Maryville College, New Providence Presbyterian Church, or the Friends of the GSMNP.
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