Former chair of UC Berkeley's Physical Education
Department dies at 71
By Janet Gilmore, Public Affairs
BERKELEY -- Mary Lou Norrie Brown, former chair of the University of California, Berkeley's Department of Physical Education for nearly 10 years, died on Dec. 2 after suffering a heart attack. She was 71.
Norrie, born on the Fourth of July in 1927, was extremely active in her profession and in UC Berkeley administrative matters.
"She was a dedicated faculty member who did a great deal to develop a collegial feeling within the department, " said longtime friend and colleague Roberta Park, professor emeritus of the Department of Integrated Biology at UC Berkeley. "She was a guiding force in the academic program of the former Department of Physical Education."
Norrie first came to UC Berkeley as a student. She obtained a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1951 and, a few years later, a master's degree in physical education as well. She gained her Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she studied educational psychology.
Norrie joined UC Berkeley's faculty in 1962, after teaching at the University of Pittsburgh. She specialized in motor learning and mentored many graduate students, who held her in high regard.
During the 1960's Norrie was an active contributor to numerous professional organizations in her field. She was chair of the research section of the California Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. She also served as associate editor of the "Research Quarterly," a scholarly publication for experts in her field.
By the 1970's her influence at UC Berkeley had spread beyond the classroom. She served as the campus' Ombudsperson, worked on various committees of the Academic Senate and was president of the Women's Faculty Club.
In 1973 she became chair of, what was then called, the Physical Education Department, at UC Berkeley. She served as chair through 1982 and, along the way, married former UC Berkeley physics professor Robert R. Brown.
Mary Norrie and her husband retired around 1983 and moved to a home in Anacortes in Washington State.
During her retirement, Norrie traveled around the world to pursue her hobby in amateur radio transmission. She was the current president of the Northwest Division of the Amateur Radio Relay League.
Norrie had just returned from an amateur radio excursion in Lord Howe Island, Australia, and was in Los Angeles on her way back home to Washington, when she suffered the heart attack.
Funeral services are pending.
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