Frank Browning Jr., 92, of Towanda, died Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, at home surrounded by his family.
Frank was born Aug. 8, 1921, on Spring Hill, the youngest child of Frank and Susan Palmer Browning. Many people called him "Junior" or "Junie." He worked on several different farms during high school and learned a life-long work ethic. He graduated from Camptown High School in 1940.
On March 27, 1943, Frank married Arlene Saylor. He reported to Camp Blanding, Fla., in 1944 but was medically discharged from boot camp.
His first son, Doug, was born in 1945 and Frank supported his small family by working at Vandervort's, delivering feed. He bought their first home in East Towanda at an auction. His second son, Dave, was born in 1954 and by then he was working at DuPont. Frank worked there for 10 years until he was laid off and was forced to start a new chapter in his life.
He decided to start a new career of barbering and moved his family to Florida so he could attend barber school. He owned two barbershops in Florida and he and another barber, Vance Pressler, became lifelong friends. The family lived in Florida for three years and they were very happy to be Yankees again when DuPont called Frank back to work.
He sold his barbershop and after moving back to Towanda, the family bought the former State Police barracks building in North Towanda. It was a perfect building to accommodate both his family and a barbershop.
The saddest day of Frank's life came when his beloved son, Doug, died in 1971. Doug's widow, Janelle Carpenter Browning, moved to her hometown area near Chicago with their two sons. Even with the distance between grandparents and grandchildren, the family worked very hard to keep a strong connection between the two families. The two grandsons spent many summers with their grandparents in North Towanda, growing up with an interesting balance of country life and metropolitan life.
Frank continued to work at DuPont until he retired in 1981. He also barbered in his shop, "Frank's Barber Shop", in North Towanda part time. Barbering suited him well because he truly enjoyed people.
Many of the best times of his life happened on Barclay Mountain at his cabin. He built the one room cabin in 1957 and added to the structure over the years. He loved being there with his family and friends during deer camp. Frank would start planning and buying food two months in advance of that week. He also enjoyed using it as a base camp for snowmobiling and hosting "Franks at Frank's" for his friends.
Another of Frank's loves was helping on Dave's farm. When he was well into his 80s, you'd find him on a tractor during hay season. He was 91 the last time he ran a wood splitter for firewood. He loved being on a farm again.
Frank was a member of the North Towanda United Methodist Church and served as board president for 25 years. He also taught Sunday school and was a board member of Memorial Hospital. He and Arlene were members of the French Choppers R.V. Club.
Frank is survived by his wife of 70 years, Arlene, at home; son, Dave and his wife Terry Wolf Browning of Rome; daughter-in-law and son-in-law, Janelle and Dave Wildey of Naperville, Ill.; grandchildren, Mike and Jamie Browning of West Chicago, Kurt and Tina Browning of Plainfield, Ill., and Michele Browning of Sayre; great grandchildren, Courtney, Douglas, Danielle and David Browning, Brittney and Adam Robinson of California; great-great grandchildren, Ajna Zimmerman and Aujah Robinson of California; and son-of-the-heart, Ralph Schoonover. The family thanks Larry Allyn and Dick Schmieg for being such wonderful friends and neighbors. Gratitude is also expressed to Kay and Dana McNeal for the many rides to church. Memorial Hospital Hospice made it possible for Frank to stay home and the family is grateful for that.
The funeral service will be held at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, at the North Towanda United Methodist Church with Rev. Jean Montgomery officiating. The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the church. Interment will be in Bradford County Memorial Park, Luthers Mills, Pa.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be directed to the North Towanda United Methodist Church in care of Jake Guffey, 3377 Sugar Creek Road, Towanda, PA 18848, in Frank's memory. Arrangements are under the direction of the Maryott-Bowen Funeral Home, 217 York Ave., Towanda, Pa.
Memories and condolences may be expressed and shared by visiting www.bowenfuneralhomes.com