Emery Easton “Brownie” Brown, son of Mabel Hayden (Easton) Brown and Arthur Bernard Brown, was born Aug. 18, 1919 in Boston, Massachusetts, “a subsequent product of the earlier celebration of the signing of the armistice ending World War I, Nov. 11, 1918.” He died May 18, 2020.
He was raised in Waltham, Massachusetts, active in the Payson Park Church and graduated from Waltham High School in 1937 and Northeastern University on their five year co-op program, which allowed him to work full time some semesters and finance his own education, being post-Depression. When asked he would state, “I am a graduate of North Eastern University College of Business Administration with a major in accounting who was unable to stick around for graduation. I completed my last final on Friday April 3, 1942 and commenced wearing Uncle Sam’s free clothing on the following Monday.” When he and fellow classmates went to enlist the morning following Pearl Harbor, the seniors were advised to return to school, complete their final semester, then enlist. Brownie took them literally not feeling the need to hang around and “stand on ceremony.” His formal education completed for the time being, he went from the exam to enlistment office. His diploma was then mailed to the family home.
“As the envisioned most promising accountant-to-be, those controlling the destination of the U.S. Army Air Corps, determined that I would make a perfect aircraft mechanic. I rose through the enlisted ranks during the succeeding couple of years and was recommended to become one of the few candidates to be granted, in the field of combat, a direct commission to the officer rank. I became the engineering officer of a bomber squadron. Service overseas was in the North African and Italian Campaigns. Landing in the former French Colony of Oran, Algeria having shipped out of Brooklyn, N.Y. with a German submarine off shore, just outside the harbor. Small ships from the Royal Canadian Navy, whose main duty was to act as convoy escorts across the Atlantic, kept that sub at bay for us. As they say, the rest is history.”
As a young boy he was introduced to the woods of Maine. In 1929, his family started coming to Sawyers Island, Boothbay with family friends, the Pinkhams. The wife was a Welch and her family owned a few lots along The Lane. The following year the family built a comfortable log cabin. Brownie told of being the only male while the men were back home working. As a male he was required to sleep on a cot in the kitchen or in the Loom Room at another Welch cottage. In the 1940s, while overseas, Brownie acquired the cabin which he retained until the early 1970s, when his daughter and husband moved into a home on the island, just across the street from the lane leading to the cabin. Consequently Sawyers Island has been considered the family home with four generations having lived there over the past 90 years.
Following his return home from the war he married the former Marion Virginia Ricker, on Dec. 30, 1945, and moved to her hometown of Abington, Massachusetts. They raised their three children there. He was employed his whole career with The John Hancock Life Insurance Company of Boston, retiring in 1981.
Brownie served as the head of the Municipal Finance Committee for the town of Abington, very active in the First Parish Congregational Church UCC of Abington, the Boy Scouts of America once he moved his family to Chelmsford in 1965, the Sawyers Island Community Association and eventually as a volunteer at the South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center, Florida during the initial 25 years of its existence. He moved with his second wife Millie to Sun City Center, originally seasonally following their retirement. He moved to Freedom Plaza in its opening year 1992, where he lived until one week before his 99th birthday, in 2018, when he transitioned into Homewood Assisted Living. He served in sundry capacities at Freedom Plaza over the ensuing years.
Once his children were raised, he started traveling; with a couple cross country road trips, Scandinavia, Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, Holy Lands, Australia, various parts of Europe, Mediterranean, the Panama Canal, Carrabean, Hawaii, and north to Alaska, among other destinations. He loved playing cards with friends and family and being a ham was active in church minstrel shows and the Freedom Follies. He was a jokester and loved brain-teasing puzzles. He continued to attend exercise sessions well past his 100th birthday.
Brownie endured the misfortune of being widowed five times. He was married to the former Marion Virginia Ricker, the mother of his children, for 25 years before she died in February 1971 after a long fought battle with cancer. He married Mildred Robinson Ludden on July 7, 1973, thus returning to Abington. Following their retirement they briefly moved to their new home in Alton Bay, N.H. No longer being as active in winter outdoor sports, they started wintering in Kings Point, Sun City Center, Florida. Falling in love with the active community life they left the north and building a new home, they moved south permanently. A few years later they wisely committed to relocate to the planned Freedom Plaza Continuing Care plan. Unfortunately Millie succumbed to rapidly progressing health condition Dec. 14, 1991. Brownie, again widowed, continued with their carefully planned relocation and moved into Freedom Plaza as soon as construction was completed. While volunteering at South Bay Hospital, he met and married Katherine “Kathy” Callan, Feb. 14, 1993. She passed away Feb. 12, 2005. Not believing people were put on this earth to live a lonely singular existence, and finding himself again in love, he married Ruth O’Leary who he met at church and also resided in Freedom Plaza, Nov. 19, 2005 and losing her way too soon, Dec. 13, 2010. His final wife was Betty Jane Ackerman. They married Oct. 22, 2011. She valiantly hung in there to help celebrate his 100th birthday and passed on October 2019, and he followed May 2020, partly due to the loneliness and confusion of being confined to one room as a protection from COVID-19. He was a people person, and having little hearing or vision, had no idea what to do with himself alone in one room.
Brownie was also predeceased by his parents, aunts, uncles and was the last cousin left. Also preceding him was son Robert Wendell Brown, and his sister Jane B. Reed.
He is survived by his oldest and youngest children, Doris Louise (Brown) Burnham and husband Douglas W. and Richard Walter Brown and wife Shirley all of Boothbay, Maine, plus grandchildren Kimberly, Mary, Misty, Barbara and Richard II. He leaves behind nine great-grandchildren.
Brownie will be buried in his wife Marion’s family plot at Elmwood Cemetery, in Methuen, Massachusetts. Graveside service will be on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 11 a.m., followed by a socially distancing lunch. Unfortunately there will not be the opportunity to hold a memorial service at Freedom Plaza, due to health concerns for the family traveling from New England, and his many friends.