Retired historian Sarah Brown McNiell dies at 87

Betsy PickleObits

Retired chair of the Maryville College history department, founding member and officer of the Maryville/Alcoa League of Women Voters, founding member and first president of the Blount County Historic Trust and longtime Maryville city historian Sarah Heron Brown McNiell of Maryville died Saturday, April 20, in Nashville at the age of 87.


Sarah Heron Brown McNiell

Descended from the Brown family of Maryville and the Parkers of Louisville, Tenn., Mrs. NcNiell was raised on dairy farms in South Florida and in Maryland, according to her obituary. In 1949, she entered Maryville College, where she was student body president in 1953 and was among the fourth generation of the Brown family to attend the college.

After earning her bachelor of arts degree from Maryville in 1953 and a master’s degree in history from the University of Tennessee in 1954, she began a 40-plus-year career in higher education at Maryville College, earning her doctorate in history from the University of Tennessee in 1973. She retired in 1995 as the chair of the MC history department and was honored with Maryville College’s Alumni Citation in 2000.

Mrs. McNiell was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Stuart Percy McNiell Jr. She is survived by her son, Stuart P. McNiell III of Nashville, and her daughter, Helen Anne McNiell of Alexandria, Va., sisters-in-law Barbara McNiell Handley and Shirley McNiell Heatherly of Maryville and many other relatives. Mrs. McNiell’s life will be celebrated with a memorial service at New Providence Presbyterian Church, Maryville, on a yet-to-be-determined date.

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