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1922 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Bill Brown (a/k/a William C. Brown) finally stopped bugging everybody on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. Right to the end, at age 91, he would do things like pushing fist bumps at perfect strangers, playing boogie woogie and other foot- tapping piano right in front of innocent people, and racing to beat other oldsters to empty chairs (which is how he tripped and broke his hip, leading eventually to his well-earned demise). Bill was born June 6, 1922 in St. Joseph, MO, to Edmond Benedict and Bertha Mae Rigney Brown, and they and his two brothers moved to present day Roeland Park in 1930. He caused trouble at St. Agnes grade school, Shawnee Mission Rural (now North) High School, and Rockhurst College, where he graduated in 1944. He enlisted to shake things up as an officer in the US Navy, and even bothered the other side when his ship helped capture a German submarine. Martha "Ruth" Walker began putting up with him when they married in 1945. They lived in Des Moines when he was trying to scare the neighbor kids by acting like a barking dog when he threw open the front door, only to find himself barking at the Avon lady. They moved to Overland Park in 1952 and raised eight afflicted children. Through all the years they were part of a 24-family group of terrific people called the "Poker Bridge Club" -- you guys know who you are -- in which Bill was a key instigator and rabblerouser. Bill harassed people into buying insurance for 20 years, then became the Financial Aid director at Rockhurst College, where he played a key role in many students spiraling down into becoming educated citizens. In his last years he plagued his fellow retirement residents at Overland Park Place, giving them little respite from his dangerous music and raillery. There was always a deeply serious side to Bill's provocations. He pestered his children and others until they suffered by thinking and feeling deeply about others and all kinds of meaningful things. They still haven't recovered. Ruth admittedly did this too, until she died in 2009. The picture shows Bill tormenting a grandchild into hysterics with his extra-vigorous "This Is The Way The Ladies Ride". Few within his reach -- children or adults -- escaped without a similar fate. He is survived by his most grateful children: Katherine McNaughton, Seattle, WA, Barbara Giordano, Santa Rosa, CA, Rebecca ("Beckie"), Mission Viejo, CA, Mary Ellen Legay, Kona, HI, Bernard, Westwood, KS, Phillip, Lynwood, WA, Charles, and Molly, Albany, CA, 12 grateful grandchildren, and 5 grateful nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph, ursulinesmsj.org. They put up with Bill and all a long time, and have too little for their retirement. Visitation is on Monday, October 21st from 5:30-7:30 P.M. at Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty, Overland Park; memorial service Tuesday, October 22nd at 10:00 AM at Queen of the Holy Rosary Church, 7023 W. 71st, Overland Park, followed by a reception there; burial will be at 1:30 at Resurrection Cemetery, Lenexa.
Published in Kansas City Star on Oct. 20, 2013
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