Mamie Brown, who came to Johns Hopkins in 1945 as a
part-time bus girl at Levering cafeteria and stayed at the
university for nearly 60 years, died July 26 at the age of
She was thought to have been the university's
longest-serving employee. She arrived at the Homewood
campus when Isaiah Bowman was president and worked here
under 9 of the university's 13 presidents.
After a few years at Levering, "Miss Mamie" as she was
known around campus, was transferred to the dining room of
what was then the only dormitory on campus, AMR I, to
assist with the very formal daily dining of the time.
"Every day, we would set the table up with the linens,
and about 500 to 600 students would come in their shirts
and ties and order what they wanted from the menu," she
told The Gazette in 1995, when she was celebrating her 50th
anniversary with the univers-ity. "Of course it was all
men, and the food was better. We had to peel the potatoes
for every meal. Nothing was frozen like it is today."
While Miss Mamie was busy feeding the approximately
2,000 students attending Hopkins in the post-WWII years,
she met Minnie Hargrow, known on campus as "Miss Minnie,"
and the two became close friends when Miss Mamie was
transferred in 1970 back to her old cafeteria, where Miss
Minnie then worked. Miss Mamie had worked in Levering ever
since, doing just about every job conceivable, from
dishwasher to cashier to working in the steam lines. In
later years, she had pared her schedule back to only four
hours a day.
Miss Minnie, who now works in the President's Office,
describes her longtime friend as genial, polite and
unflinchingly particular about her work.
"She always made sure her counter, her station was
kept nice and clean. She wanted it spotless. 'Don't slobber
food on those plates,' she would always say, and 'Keep the
line moving,'" Miss Minnie said. "She was a very good
worker, well-liked. She had a lot of friends here."
Miss Minnie, who for 10 years drove Brown to work,
said that it often seemed the two would be at Johns Hopkins
"I haven't been able to go to the cafeteria since she
passed," she said. "We were good friends. We never once had
an argument, never, in all those years. She was a good
woman and a kind spirit."