Sara Katie Brown, age 49, of Wichita, Kansas, passed away peacefully on Saturday morning, February 26th in the home of her brother and his wife, Korey and Susie Kilgroe, where she had lived for the past 20 years.
She is survived by two older brothers and three older sisters; Kamlin (Kam) L. Kilgroe of San Francisco, California; Korvin (Korey) J. Kilgroe (wife Susie) of Wichita, Kansas; Kerry Jo LaBrayere (husband Dennis) of Bel Aire, Kansas; Joy E. Deardorf (husband Tim) of Maui, Hawaii; and Carolyn L. Zemeckis of Kaui, Hawaii, as well as numerous nieces and nephews living, in Kansas, Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon, and Hawaii.
Sara is preceded in death by her Father, Joseph Audrain Brown of Pleasanton, Kansas; her Mother, Hildegard E. Kilgroe of Wichita, Kansas; her brother, Dwayne W. Brown (?); and two of her sisters, Joyce Lavin (husband Joe, still living), and Wanda (?), all three siblings from Phoenix, Arizona.
Family members and friends often called Sara by a nickname given to her by her mother: Cita, or Sara Cita, which means “little one” in Spanish. It was eventually shortened to just “Cit” (pronounced “Ceet”).
Born September 22, 1972, in Ft Scott, Kansas, Sara grew up in Pleasanton, Kansas. She was born with two chromosomal issues, Noonan’s Syndrome and Turner’s Syndrome, and she experienced a failure-to-thrive as a baby. Her mother searched for something to counter this need for more protein, and finally discovered that minced clams would fill-the-bill nicely. Sara was soon a healthy and happy little redhead, running and playing with her siblings and friends. After her two older brothers, Kam and Korey left for college, Sara’s mother moved to Jacksonville, Florida with Sara and her three older sisters for two years. After that, they moved to Pueblo, Colorado for 10 years, where at age 17 Sara owned her first car. However, a minor car wreck shortly thereafter ended the car situation, and she never drove again. Sara’s three older sisters had all left the home by this time and Sara and her mother then moved to San Antonio, Texas for a year or so. After this, her brother Korey Kilgroe and his wife Susie invited them to come and live with them in Wichita, Kansas, which they did in 1990. They lived there for about 5 years, eventually moving into a small house of their own. Sara later moved in with another couple in Wichita, which she helped to support with her earnings from working at Walmart. This relationship eventually went south, and a few years later in 2001 her brother Korey finally brought her back to live with his family again.
In about 1995, Sara began to experience frequent headaches, and was eventually diagnosed with a brain-stem tumor, which may have been related to her chromosomal issues. Although a biopsy was taken, the results were inconclusive as to whether it was benign or malignant.
Finally, in 1996, doctors installed a drain-shunt with a tube under Sara’s scalp to drain excess cerebral fluid into her abdomen. This helped to alleviate the headaches until the drain tube failed in 2013 and had to be replaced. More problems with the shunt over the next 2 years required three additional surgeries to correct. Although the doctors said at this point that the shunt and tube were working properly, the headaches had returned. So Sara was forced to leave her beloved-and-fulfilling job as a cashier at Walmart, which she had held for over 12 years.
Doctors tried several different pill regimens in an attempt to relieve Sara’s headaches, with little success, so other options were considered. Since the tumor was inoperable due to its location on the top of the brain stem itself, the only other option available was radiation therapy, which would kill the tumor cells and, hopefully, shrink the tumor. This was discussed with Sara and her siblings, and the decision was made to go ahead with it.
So five times per week, for five weeks, she received about 7 minutes of radiation treatment. Unfortunately, during the last week of treatment, Korey’s wife Susie began to notice a decline in Sara’s mental abilities and her balance. This decline continued until mid-February, when she was eventually bed-ridden, just a few days prior to her death.
Sara loved life, and loved to travel as well. She was fortunate enough to go on a mission trip to Spain and France, two western Caribbean cruises, and several bus touring trips with her good friend, Sandy Michaels, whom she had worked with at Walmart. These bus tours included a trip to Nova Scotia to see the “Anne of Green Gables” area, a trip to the Ballon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and other enjoyable sites. Sara really enjoyed working at Walmart, and was loved by many of the regular customers who came through her check-out line. She had also worked at a child-care facility, a tele-marketing company, and as cashier at Hobby Lobby for a short time.
For some reason, ever since fourth grade, she had developed a fascination with sharks. She enjoyed collecting shark toys, shark pillows, shark mugs, even shark teeth! One of her sisters gave her a shark comforter for her bed and a shark shower curtain. Something about these “torpedos of the sea” gave her enjoyment.
Sara’s passion was encouraging other people. She loved to write poems for friends and acquaintances, for which she seemed to have a God-given gift. She was born-again Christian and an avid church-goer, where she eventually attained the title of “Assistant to the Pastor”, which recognized her ability to pray with, and encourage those who were struggling, or just wanting prayer. But Sara was also known as a spunky little red-headed spit-fire who loved to add her quick-and-ready-wit to any conversation. Many “good-bye, see you later”s to Sara were followed with a “Thanks for the warning!”
Sara will indeed be missed. But I believe I know what she would say to everyone she ever met if she got the chance: Jesus is coming SOON! Call on Him while He is near; cast your burden on Him, because He cares for YOU!
So, rest in peace, my precious little Sis!