Whether helping children as a bus attendant or assisting them as a classroom aide, June Brown did everything with a "heart of gold," said longtime friend and co-worker Donna Clark.
Brown, 55, of West Kensington, died after she was struck by a Philadelphia school-district bus Feb. 6 at the Widener bus garage in Olney, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.
Brown boarded a school bus each morning to attend to young students as they rode to school. The accident occurred at 6 a.m., before the vehicles had been dispatched to pick up students.
The incident is in the process of being examined by the department's Accident Investigation District. No further details were available at press time.
Over the years, Brown routinely volunteered to ride with special-needs children, according to Clark. She also worked as a student-support assistant at Andrew J. Morrison Elementary School in Olney, helping first-graders develop their reading skills. Clark is a secretary there.
Brown also gave of her time to volunteer at Zion Lutheran Church in Olney, helping out her friend Clark, who does secretarial work there as well.
"She was very well-loved by her students," said Clark, who noted that Brown's class drew pictures and sympathy cards to be sent to Brown's husband, Alan. The couple has a 26-year-old son, Jason Brown, who served for a number of years as a marine.
The accident and ensuing investigation caused delays in other buses leaving the garage, and left up to 3,000 schoolchildren waiting at bus stops for extended periods of time on one of the coldest days of the year, according to various news reports.
Clark recalled how even after a recent heart surgery, Brown was still committed to fasting on Yom Kippur.
A non-Jew, Clark spent holiday dinners with the Browns, and in turn, invited them to celebrate Christmas and other holidays with her large family. June Brown always seemed to have a gift for each of the children, noted her friend.
"She just gave, gave, gave," said Clark.
Alan Brown, contacted Monday by phone, said that he was amazed at just how many people came to the Feb. 8 funeral.
"She would have been very happy to see the number of people there," he offered, his voice heavy with emotion. "She touched a lot of people."