Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Irma Brown?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Irma's memory.
Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter
your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you
can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
September 22, 1938 ~ October 28, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old
Erma Lee Brown (Hansbrough) was born in Marks, Mississippi, on September 22, 1938. She was the daughter of the late Willie and Cora Hansbrough. As the eldest of the Hansbrough children, she was preceded by siblings Willie Autry Hansbrough and Jean Alice Oates. The Hansbrough family relocated to Chicago during Erma's high school years, making a home on the Near Northside. There, she embraced her faith, baptized at Wayman Methodist Church, and graduated from Wells High School, later attending Crane Junior College (now Malcolm X College). It was at Wells where she met her beloved husband, Michael Brown Sr., whom she married, and together they welcomed three children: Deborah, Michael Jr., and Karen.
The Brown family planted deep roots in the Near Northside; their children were educated in both public and Catholic schools. During this time, Erma converted to Catholicism and became a devout member of Saint Joseph Church, where she was an auxiliary minister and active in various committees.
Her career began as a Hospital Orderly at Providence Hospital, after which she joined the United States Post Office as a Machinist Clerk. She then dedicated many years as a Teacher Assistant within the Board of Education at Jenner Elementary and St. Joseph’s Catholic School, contributing significantly to the youth of the Cabrini Green area. Her service continued at the Cook County Assessor's Office as a Property Tax Assistant, retiring after over three decades. Politically active, Erma was a long-standing member of the 42nd and 27th Ward Regular Democratic Organizations and volunteered as an Election Judge.
After retiring, Erma enjoyed spending quality time with her husband and family. She would faithfully enjoy watching Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right, and Dancing with the Stars. She was the consummate sports enthusiast, always cheering on Chicago's teams, especially the Cubs.
Erma faced a number of health challenges, but she always maintained a positive attitude. On October 12, 2023, Erma was admitted to Northwestern Hospital. After a valiant struggle in the ICU, she passed away on October 28, 2023, at 1:05 a.m. Erma was the heart of family gatherings, infusing laughter and love into every occasion; always willing to do anything for her loved ones. Her large personality, sharp wit, strength, and bold presence will be profoundly missed.
She leaves to cherish her memory her husband of over 60 years, Michael Brown Sr.; three children: Deborah Patricia Graham, Michael Brown Jr. (Tanika), and Karen Shernice Brown; five grandchildren: Cherie Graham, Ronnie Graham (Akilah), Christopher Graham (Adriano), Auriel Banister, and Gabrielle Brown; one great-granddaughter, Amaya Whaley; two nieces: Tonia Mykhailenko and Valerie Hansbrough; two nephews: Alphonso Hansbrough and Ernest Walker (Aja); and a host of great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, and friends whom she loved so dearly.