Malva Haynes Huson Brown died on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, at Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston, West Virginia. Her son and niece were by her side as were several of the hospice volunteers who had cared for her. She died peacefully at the ripe old age of 96 years and seven months.
Malva and her first husband, Roland T. Huson, Jr. were the founders of Zachary’s award-winning Plainsman newspaper in 1955, having been invited by the Zachary Rotary Club to start a newspaper. The newspaper was indeed a family enterprise. Their son, Roland T. Huson, III served as a pressman and their daughter, known by her nickname “Gadget,” wrote an award-winning weekly column entitled “Gossip from Gadget.”
Malva was born August 18, 1915 in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Her family moved to Baton Rouge shortly thereafter, where she was president of her senior class at Baton Rouge High in 1932.
In 1936 Malva graduated from the LSU School of Journalism where she had met her first husband, Roland T. Huson, Jr., a follow journalist. While at LSU she was one of the first female editors of the student newspaper, The Reveille. Later she was a society editor for the State-Times in Baton Rouge.
Malva and Roland married in 1937. During World War II she and Roland served in the Civil Air Patrol searching for submarines in the Gulf of Mexico and for lost airplanes throughout Louisiana.
After the war, they, with their two pre-school age children, traveled North America by car for over two years writing personalized letters to young children by subscription.
At various times the couple owned and operated several award-winning weekly newspapers throughout Louisiana, including the Jonesville Booster, Harrisonburg’s Catahoula News, and Clinton’s Watchman as well as Zachary’s Plainsman.
They retired in 1964, bought an Airstream and traveled North and Central America until Roland died of lung cancer in 1969.
After Roland died, Malva returned to school and in 1972 earned a library science degree from LSU with a post-graduate medical librarian certification from Emory University in Atlanta. She was the head of the library in Hattiesburg, MS for a year in 1973 before heart surgery forced her to resign. Later she became the first director of the regional Bayouland Library System in Lafayette, LA.
Malva married an old school mate, Earl B. Brown, in 1976. She and Earl resided in Baker, LA. They traveled in Europe and attended the 40th anniversary of the Normandy invasion in which Earl had stormed the beach on D-Day.
After Earl died in 1987 Malva moved back to Baton Rouge, where she was an active member of Mended Hearts, having had by-pass surgery twice. In 1989 she and her daughter began a two-year re-creation of the travel letters experience as they visited all 50 states and wrote personalized letters to children by subscription.
In 1996 she moved to Charleston, West Virginia to be near her son and his family.
Malva had a life-long love of literature and an never-ebbing passion for learning. Her last professional endeavor was editing a novel at age 93.
She is survived by her children Juanita Ruth One and Roland T. Huson III and daughter-in-law, Martina M. Huson, all of Charleston, West Virginia; five grandchildren, Felicia Huson, Charleston, WV; Army First Sgt.(Ret.) Roland (Cari) Huson, Leesville, LA; Tasha (Dave) Walsh, Lexington, VA; Rebecca (Kevin) O’Reilly, Glengormley, Northern Ireland; Vivian Sylvest, Boulder, CO; and Nicole (Navy Lt. Commander Mike) Gard, Bandera, TX. Also surviving are her step-children Ann Brown Singleton (Jack), Susan Brown Bradshaw and Elaine Brown Kilgore, all of Baton Rouge and Earl Bruce Brown Jr. (Gale) of Houston, TX; and a total of 16 step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her parents Lawrence Bythel Haynes and Leona Leake Haynes and her siblings, Samuel Bythel Haynes, Mary Haynes Allen Nason, Lawrence Boyd Haynes, Eugenia Haynes Chidester, and Sidney Porter Haynes, all of Baton Rouge.
She donated her body to science.
She was dearly loved by her family and friends and her family thanks everyone for the love and care shown her over the years, with a special thanks to the staff at Hubbard Hospice House, Charleston, WV, to her home-care friends Jennifer Stiltner and Shena Payne, and to her very attentive nephew Sam B. Haynes of Baton Rouge.
Condolences may be sent to the family at 3915 Staunton Ave. SE, Charleston, WV 25304. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to the Roland T. Huson Jr. and Malva Haynes Huson Scholarship Fund at the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 or to Hubbard Hospice House, 1001 Kennawa Drive, Charleston, WV 25311.