Life Story / Obituary
Cathleen Jane Brown, formerly Cathleen DeLong, age 43, passed away on January 25, 2023, at her home in Kenosha, Wisconsin, due to complications from colon cancer. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 30, 1979, to Charles H. Brown and Deborah Bergman Brown.
After a semi-nomadic childhood spent in Montana and her beloved California, Cathleen graduated from Costa Mesa High School in 1998. She joined the U.S. Army and started a family with Steven DeLong, residing in far-flung locales from South Korea to Italy. An avid reader and fiction writer, Cathleen sold her debut novel in 2009, the first of twelve she published as Lorelie Brown. In 2016, Far From Home became the first lesbian romance nominated for the Romance Writers of America’s most prestigious award. In addition, she and her longtime critique partner, Carrie Lofty, collaborated to co-write a dozen books under the penname Katie Porter. This body of work is a testament to Cathleen’s imagination, wit, passion, and sense of justice.
Cathleen’s romantic relationship with Carrie and her husband, Keven Lofty, became a lasting commitment in 2013 when the three came together in Wisconsin to blend a loving, chaotic family. A skilled knitter and true crime aficionado, Cathleen was always on the hunt for new stationery supplies or the nearest beach—even in the Midwest—and was never far from her grumpy, darling Shih-Tzu, Gizmo. After recovering from a near-fatal car crash in 2017, she quit her job to fulfill an unrealized ambition: to earn a college degree. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in December 2021 with a BA in History. The following month, she was admitted to Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, where she had hoped to start the next phase of her life as a public interest lawyer.
Cathleen is survived by her partners Carrie and Keven Lofty; her children Aaron Austin, Christopher Blake and Nevada (Zachary) DeLong, and J and Ilsa Lofty; her mother and father; her bonus mom Regina Christ; and a worldwide extended family. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her, including the wonderful romance professionals and readers who continue to admire her talent, humor, and kindness.
In lieu of flowers or donations, it was Cathleen’s wish that people support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to combat the disease that took the life of her dear stepbrother, Brian Ernst, in 2019: www.cff.org/donate.
Private services were held.