Robert J. Brown Jr., who returned home from World War II and his love of science into technologies that bolstered the nation's defenses and changed life in its workplaces, died Sunday from complications of a recent stroke. He was 91.
The longtime Boca Raton resident conceived and put in place the first radar system to detect the firing of a Soviet ballistic missile, said his son, Kenneth E. Brown. He advised three presidents - Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Mr. Brown also was involved in the conception, patenting and licensing of the first dial-up fax machine while working for Magnavox in the mid-1960s.
"He was a creative, bright thinker," Kenneth E. Brown said of his father. "When technology could solve a problem he would think of a way today."
Mr. Brown was Aug. 15, 1921, in Welsh, La. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1942 and went to work for General Electric, for whom he worked through 1964.
During President Eisenhower's administration, Mr. Brown led the creation of the Over the Horizon Radar Ballistic Missile Detection System, which determined the highest point and target of missiles immediately after launch. In the earliest days of the Kennedy administration, Mr. Brown often advised the Joint Chiefs of Staffs because of his experience with missile defense systems.
Mr. Brown enjoyed a brief retirement in 1977, before forming the timing device company Telitimer International in 1980, which later sold its technologies to Verizon.
"He came home and he told my mother that he can't play anymore golf and he can't catch anymore fish," Kenneth Brown said. "He wanted something more diverse to occupy his mind."
Mr. Brown always made time for family, his son said.
"Those accomplishments, even though he was involved in all these things and traveled all over the world, he was an amazing family man," Kenneth Brown said. "He put nothing ahead of his family. He made sure whatever we needed, we were provided with."
A service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Babione Funeral Home at 1100 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton