Edwina Lyn Brownell

November 07, 1973 ‒ March 30, 2020

Mansfield, Ohio

Follow this link to watch Edwina’s full funeral service on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1432276923611360

Edwina’s Obituary

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)

Love Always,

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  • I will miss her laughter and joy she brought to every conversation. I look forward to seeing her again at the gates of heaven. God bless her immediate family as this so hard to endure. You are in my heart and prayers.

  • It feels as though part of my childhood left with you😢 We are the same age and when we visited Grandma Finley, it was always exciting because I got to play with you and Edwin! We were very close as kids and had such adventures! I miss you already but I know that you are now with your earthly father and Heavenly Father! You were surrounded by family and friends when you left and you were greeted with family and friends when you arrived. It is not goodbye but only see you in awhile! I love you sweet cousin!

  • I’m terribly sorry to hear of Edwina’s passing. I know that she is in a much happier place now where pain cannot abide.

    God bless you all

  • Much love to you and your family Edwina. Say hello to all of our family. I know you are smiling as you see their faces and the face of God.

  • Edwina, how can I continue to fight with my warrior sister gone? I could always tell myself, you can do this, look at Edwina. You were such a fighter. At my lowest point, after my disfiguring surgery, we met in the hallway as they got us up to walk. “What kind of cancer do you have?” You asked. I remember feeling such a rush when you said: “Me Too”. I felt less alone from that point on. You were always there when I had questions. It was truly my pleasure to have had the opportunity to share your journey and to see your grace and love during the worst of times. I love you and sad that I have lost my friend but I’m so glad that you knew Jesus. Because in the end, that’s all that matters. You are so loved. Ellie

  • It was a pleasure meeting you Edwina at Brittany’s bridal shower! It was beautiful to see how you raised such an amazing woman. I am eternally grateful that I was blessed with meeting Brittany. I will always see her as a little sister. Know that your beautiful family will continue to be loved because they had such a great example as a mom.

    Noelia Danzo

  • My dear sweet cousin, you always had such a sweet smile & beautiful brightness around you. Way too young , but your faith is so inspiring. God bless you & surround your family with God’s hands . Now rest your fight is over❤🙏

  • We are so very sorry to hear of Edwina’s passing. She was such a wonderful, sweet, strong and inspirational teacher and lady. She left this earth too soon, but will not be forgotten. Prayers for healing the hearts of her loved ones. Our sincere sympathy to all of you.

  • So sorry for your Loss Ed and Family! What a beautiful obituary from a beautiful woman!

  • 💕💕💕🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏💕💕💕
    Hugs and prayers, my sweet cousin.
    💕💕🙏🙏 We love you! 🙏🙏💕💕

  • I am so very sorry for your loss. I have some wonderful memories of Edwina at the Sun Valley swimming pool in our childhood years. I remember finding out we were cousins and thought that was just awesome! She is loved so very much and will be missed so much as well. She is in God’s care now and Amen for her to now being pain free. I guess with all that is going on in the world today with so many people getting sick with the coronavirus that he needed more ANGLES to help him in his time of need and called her home. My thoughts and prayers to all of you in this difficult time 🙏💔

  • Dear Family of Edwina,

    May God bless and keep you all in this time. Mrs. Brownell was loved by our family. She was kind and caring and though we never had her as a teacher to our family, we always felt like she was one of ours!! We love you Mr. Brownell! We are praying for all of you.

  • So very sorry for your loss. She was a blessing to everyone that knew her. She was a strong, godly woman who shared her heart and love with those she touched daily. Her smile filled our lives and encouragement strengthened us. God’s arms has greeted her and now is surrounded by those whom she had known and loved. May God’s love, comfort and peace surround her family through this time. God bless you all .

  • I am so sorry for your loss. Edwina was such a sweet lady. I’ve know her and her girls for many years. I was their bus driver and seen Edwina on a daily basis at the school. Mr Brownell stay strong you know she would want that.She will be greatly missed Hugs to you all in this time of need. God Bless you all.

  • Edwina was not only a friend, but we were blessed to have her as teacher and academic challenge coach for three of our kids. She led the kids with passion and heart in all subjects. Her faith and trust were ever present in her life journey, even in her beautifully written obituary. Thank you Edwina! Our prayers are with all of the family.

  • What a blessing to have known such a fine and beautiful lady. While working at the high school, it was a pleasure to have both Brittany and Brooklyn mentor in our classroom as Project Support aides. Edwina’s beauty and love for life radiated from both of you girls. Edwina will forever be an inspirational warrior. Sending thoughts and prayers to all of you.

    • What a beautiful legacy Edwina leaves in her daughter’s. They are a reflection of Edwina’s kind spirit. I too enjoyed her girls helping in my classroom.

  • Dear Tom and Family,
    We are deeply saddened to learn of Edwina’s death. Her own words ring with the love she had for all of you. She was a very kind, sweet lady that always had something good to say! Our prayers of comfort and strength go out to all of you during this sad time. God’s peace be with you all.

  • My thoughts and prayers are with Edwina’s extended family. Her pain has ended but everyone else’s has begun. You will all get through this difficult time.n

  • A Godly women glad to have meant her! New her father when we were kids had a big influence on me. Pray for her family

  • May peace be with Edwina. I feel so fortunate to have been a small part of her life. I have so many memories and pieces of advice she has sprinkled into my life over the past 20 years. I will always hold them dear. She was special and I will miss her. Prayers for all of you!

  • Mr. Brownell & family,
    Edwina was Blake’s 4th grade teacher. I volunteered that whole year. I cannot tell you how much I grew to love her and Blake.
    She LOVED her student’s so much they all knew that they mattered to her.
    She ask me if I would come back to volunteer even though Blake was moving forward I am so glad I did!!
    When Blake graduated in 2017 he wanted to go back to Central Elementary and see 3 teachers whom he loved & impacted his life.
    Mrs. Brownell was one of the 3. I got pics of her a Blake which he & I will treasure.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. May the memories you have make your heart smile. Edwina was a ray of sunshine.

  • I am so sorry for the loss of such a wonderful woman that I only met once, but heard a million beautiful stories about. I had the privilege to meet Edwina Volunteering in Mrs. Duffey’s classroom last year with her amazing son Xander whom I absolutely adore! My prayers are with your family.

  • I’m so sorry for Edwinas families loss. She touched so many lives.
    Praying for you during this time

  • What a class act. My time knowing you was way to short. I know that it was meant to be after all these year. I know you did not have to reach out but you did. Thank you. You will be missed. Never forgotten.

  • Edwina and I were teachers at Madison South. I remember giving her a treasured baby chest of drawers. She was so very sweet. And her smile was amazing. Gods light shown through. Condolences to family for your loss, heavens gain. ❤️

    Susan Arnold

  • So blessed to have known edwina. She was a wonderful teacher, neighbor and mother. I will miss her

  • Edwina was always so sweet and patient and a great Godly example. we will miss her and pray God’s comfort over her friends and family

  • My thoughts, love, and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. It was a blessing to have know her. She was very inspirational and so kind-hearted. She fought long and hard but now God has ended her pain and she is walking with the Lord now. She will be missed and never forgotten.

  • Edwina who I called Edwin A was a sweet girl. I was at her wedding as a friend of the groom many years ago.
    Every once in awhile I would run into her at the store or somewhere. She always had a sweet smile and kind conversation.

  • Dear family of one amazing woman,

    May God receive her with open arms and may your faith and memories comfort you during this sad time.


    Debbie Mack

  • I worked as an occupational therapy Assistant at central for a few years. I was always welcomed into her classroom and knew without a doubt that she wanted only the very best for her students. Her patience and kindness always evident. I also had the privilege of meeting her daughters. I knew they were the light of her life. I’m honored to have worked with her. Sometimes, no matter how much time passes… you just know that you were in the presence of someone who impacted many lives. Praying for comfort for her family.

  • You were my 4th grade science teacher, way back in 2009/2010, and you were most certainly my favorite science teacher ever. You were an amazing person who I will never forget and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet, even as a young child. I remember when all the rumors of you and Mr. Brownell dating started going around the 4th grade, and you wouldn’t believe how happy we were years later to find out you two got married. Truly the best gym teacher and the best science teacher we’d ever have.
    So many prayers to the family, & for Mrs. Brownell- all us Central kids, (especially the class of 2019), loved you and we will never forget you.

  • Tom Brownell and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss and we’re praying for you and your family in this difficult time. Edwina was a sweet, strong, courageous, and what a wonderful woman that heaven has gained. What a great neighbor she was I can remember her having garage sales in the summer and many of us would have one when she did. Our condolences to you and your family.
    Love, The Gross’s
    Sheri, Kalvin and Keaton
    And Mike Baldridge

  • Ed and I send our love and prayers to all of you we know we will see all of our loved ones agin some day but they are all smiling and hugging and enjoying being with our lord jesus while they prepare a place for us someday

  • Tom and kids,
    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I graduated from high school with Edwina. We got to know each other very well, playing French horn together in band. We attended the same church after our children were born and had many opportunities to catch up over the years. Few people I have ever known enjoyed and excelled at teaching like she did. She was a gift to her students and I know they were a gift to her… Her strength, resilience, hope, trust and faith were extraordinary throughout her life and continued into her battle with Cancer, always focusing on her loving Father. May wonderful memories fill your hearts at this time. Prayers are with you. ❤️

  • You have accomplished your paths in the hands of Jesus Christ our Savior’s guidance direction allowed you to complete your journey.

    Matthew 6:22 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy your whole body will be full of light.

    We love you and know eternally in heaven is only a split second away, then we will see you again, praising our Savior.

  • Edwina was a beautiful sister in the Lord. She inspired, encouraged and challenged everyone with her determination, bravery and unwavering faith. Even during her most difficult battle she used her gift of teaching to help us all see the rainbow of hope God has given to each of our lives! My love, prayers and deepest sympathies to Tom and the Brownell family.

  • She was a precious soul who touch everyone she came o to contact with. We became friends in elementary school and continued from there. She was definitely a one of kind. My prayers for the Finley and Brownell family.

  • I am sorry Edwina is gone and I will remember her family in prayer as you grieve. She is the kindest teacher and mom and sister in Christ. Her time here is done but her time in heaven is just starting. Everything she lived for and believed she is finally experiencing and the hope she had in Jesus here one earth is her joy in heaven today. When I think of Edwina 2 Timothy 4:7-8 always comes to mind.

  • Our sincere sympathy goes to Tom and all of Edwina’s family. She was extremely kind and compassionate to others, as well as being strong and courageous in her own battle against cancer. Her faith and devotion to God was remarkable, truly an inspiration to those who knew her. She will be greatly missed.

  • So sorry for what Edwina and family had to go through, but it was a great testimony to the world, love and prayers to the family. She went to our church, Caesarea when a girl, is how I knew her,
    Ellie Hitchman

  • I am so saddened by the news of Edwina’s passing. We were friends at Madison and she was the sweetest person to everyone. I’ll always remember her for her great smile and laugh.

  • Edwina has been such a dear friend over the years. We volunteered together in the Healing Touch/DivorceCare Ministry at Berean Baptist Church for a number of years. My heart goes out to you Tom, Brittany, Brooklyn, Xander and the remainder of your families. I know you will miss her terribly. Her faith was so deep and authentic, and her testimony for Jesus Christ was so beautiful through Facebook and to everyone she knew.
    Praying for each of you for God’s strength, peace and comfort in the days and weeks to come.

  • Edwina always had such a sweet, yet warrior spirit. I have only known her for a few years. We met through Live Strong at the Y. I knew from the first moment I met her that she was special. Even in the past few months she was still thinking of blessing others. She was making notebooks for others so they could write down the rainbows in the storm. I am so grateful to have one of those. I treasure it. I prayed for her daily and I will continue to pray for you her family. What a wonderful promise that one day because you know Jesus Christ you will see her again. Until then, may the God of all comfort be ever near.

  • Our deepest condolences go to Mrs.Brownell’s family ! We got to know her through academic challenge meets , she was our daughter’s teacher! She was the most loving, caring, most encouraging person we have met!! What a beautiful lady inside and out! Our heart goes out to her family!!

  • Although I only knew Edwina through her sister Cindy, the stories I’ve heard make me feel I know her, at least how wonderful she was and how very much she was loved! May God bless all of you through this difficult time. You have a lot of wonderful memories! Karen Bias

  • The family of Hayden Keith is so sorry to hear the lost of Edwina my son Hayden had her as a reading teacher at Central Elementary and was so wonderful with him our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Brownell and family may god bless you !
    Amanda & Hayden Keith

  • I am so saddened by the loss of Edwina. I have never met a kinder, more positive, caring and God fearing individual than she. She was a wonderful teacher, mother and friend who will be missed by all who knew her. My sincere sympathies and prayers go out to Tom and her family. May your wonderful memories bring you peace and comfort during this Tim and in the days ahead. God Bless you all! 🙏❤️🙏❤️
    Susan Cooper

  • Many, many years ago Edwina’s family & mine drove to Disney World, Florida in their mini van. Eight of us total, including 4 small children. Awesome trip!!
    I was only close to Edwina for a short time, but she was so infectious with love, happiness and positivity. Truly a Godly woman, very strong and a heart of gold.
    Prayers for the family. 🙏
    Brenda Howman