Memorial Gathering to Honor Life of Laura Brown Chisolm

Beloved professor taught at Case Western Reserve School of Law

News Release: Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Laura Brown Chisolm, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, died peacefully at her Cleveland Heights home of metastatic breast cancer Saturday surrounded by family and friends.

A gathering to honor Laura's life will be held on Thursday, May 26, at 4:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland’s University Circle, near the law school.

Born Laura Lois Brown in Washington, D.C., on Jan.3, 1948, she grew up in Bethesda, Maryland with her father and mother, Joseph E. Brown and Elizabeth Hamlin Brown, and two sisters, Linnea and Kathleen. She began college at the University of Maryland, where she met Guy Maxwell Chisolm III, and they married in June, 1969.

When their daughter Adrienne was born in 1971, Laura put her own college on hold for a few years, later completing undergraduate studies at Case Western Reserve. In 1981, she graduated from Case School of Law, first in her class. She won numerous academic awards, served on the Law Review, and graduated summa cum laude.

After graduating, Laura spent three years at the Institute for Child Advocacy in Cleveland. She then became a member of the law school’s faculty, where she taught courses in property, legislation, nonprofit organizations, and wills and trusts. Professor Chisolm published articles on political involvement by tax-exempt organizations and studied other legal issues affecting them.

She was actively involved in the University's Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, was appointed reporter to the Uniform Law Commission Project on the Regulation of Charities, chaired the Important Developments Subcommittee of the American Bar Association Tax Sections Committee on Exempt Organizations, and was active in the Non-Profit Forum based at New York University.

She was thrilled and delighted when granddaughter Natalie Lauralise Stephens was born in August 2010.

Professor Chisolm appreciated the care she received from the doctors, nurses, and other caregivers at Cleveland Clinic, and her family wishes to thank them for their dedication.

She is survived by Guy Chisolm, vice chair of Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute; daughter Adrienne Chisolm Stephens, son-in-law James B. Stephens and granddaughter Natalie Stephens of Carrboro, N.C.; sister Linnea Dayton and brother-in-law Paul Dayton, and sister Kathleen Brown, all of San Diego, California.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Laura's honor to the Breast Cancer Vaccine Fund of Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, Heifer International, or Groundworks Dance Theater.