Edwina Lyn Brownell
November 07, 1973 ‒ March 30, 2020
Follow this link to watch Edwina’s full funeral service on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1432276923611360
On March 30, 2020, I, Edwina Lyn Finley Brownell heard the angels singing, took Jesus’ hand and was greeted by my loved ones at Heaven’s Gate! We will be holding a small family funeral, and later this summer we will hold a public celebration of life. Memorial Contributions will be arranged for that celebration.
Storms of life can be challenging! If we allow them, they will rob us of the blessings and joys of life. So, don’t permit those struggles to overwhelm you with fear and sadness for “The Joy of the Lord is your Strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) Look for HOPE AND LOVE from God that surrounds you. You may be surprised at how much you are loved! Embracing that love will lift you closer to Him which will make you STRONG and COURAGEOUS because He is with you wherever you go! (Joshua 1:9)
Why is this obituary unique? When I graduated from Madison Comprehensive High School in 1991, I had three life goals. I wanted to be a teacher, wife and mom. After only four years, with God’s help all three goals were achieved. So, I wanted to leave my friends and family with one last lesson, “Look for Rainbows of Hope and Love During the Storms of Life.”
My little brother, cousins and childhood friends tolerated being my students as I played school. Finally, in 1994, I became a real teacher when I graduated from Ashland University with a Bachelor’s Degree of Special Education, Elementary Education and Reading. In 2001, I graduated again from Ashland University with my Masters of Education. As part of the Master’s Degree, I was honored to be awarded as a National Board Certified teacher. In 1995-1998, I had the privilege of teaching special education at my former elementary school, Madison South. The remainder of my teaching years were in Lexington Local Schools. For four years, I taught in a resource room and inclusion settings at Eastern Elementary. As part of my Master’s degree, I became very passionate about teaching science, so I accepted a fourth grade position at Central Elementary where I taught hands on science all afternoon! I taught fourth grade for eighteen fun years. My last teaching year, I worked as a Title One teacher. The Central Staff was my extended family! Saying good-bye, way before I had expected, was one of my saddest days.
On November 7, 1973, my parents, Sandra (Robert Shoaf) and Edwin Finley, welcomed me to a beautiful county home in Mansfield, Ohio built by my dad. At home, I had six siblings awaiting my arrival, my dad’s children: Donald (Kim) Finley, Daniel Finley, Karl (Shelley) Finley, and Luanne (Ronald) Long. My beloved sisters who loved me, helped raise me and brought me such joy throughout my lifetime are Ronda (Rich) Williams and Cynthia (Bud) Bogantz. Three years later, my brother, who is one amazing dad, Edwin (Denise) Finley completed our family. I was preceded in death by my paternal grandparents, Mary and Karl Finley, as well as my maternal grandparents, Robert and Margie Swigart and my brother, Daniel Finley.
Motherhood was my greatest blessing. My oldest child Brittany (Abrams) Mowery is married to Tyler Mowery. Their love gave me my grandson, Talon Mowery. Brooklyn Abrams gifted me with two grandchildren who I love very much, Miles Hess and LaBraya Lane. Baby fever hit ten years later and God gave me my smart and inquisitive son, Xander Jellison. Having finally married my true love, Tom Brownell, I became a step-mother to Sierra Brownell, Matthew Brownell and Jacob Brownell and step-grandma to Auden Brownell. Tom and I married on July 10, 2013 on the shores the Clearfork Reservoir. My hard working and protective husband never left my side as I endured the agony caused by my illness. He made me feel loved and beautiful every day! I’ll be waiting to greet him at Heaven’s Gate!
Four years ago, I became ill and was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. It was a shock as I had no risk factors. My symptoms were misdiagnosed for a year. Once the cancer was diagnosed, my life changed drastically. Quickly, I became a warrior because I wanted more time with my family. My daughter said, “Mom, this my worst nightmare. You are my best friend. Promise me that you will fight!” Numerous surgeries, lots of radiation and chemotherapy helped extend my time. Thank you to all my prayer warriors! People, literally all over the country and world, continued to pray for me throughout my illness. I was often asked, “How can you believe in God when you’re still sick?” I could not have endured the physical, mental, or spiritual distress without Him. The cancer was stage 4 and I was blessed with several more years than expected. Remember, every day is a gift from God. Spend it loving others!
“The hardest part of love is letting go, but there’s a greater love that holds us and one-day love will bring us back around again!” (Michael W. Smith)
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