Walter L. Brown Jr.
1926 - 2018
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Walter Lawrence Brown, Jr.

February 7, 1926 – February 21, 2018


Walter Lawrence Brown, Jr., was born on February 7, 1926, in Jamesville, NC, and passed away on February 21, 2018, in Raleigh, NC, at the age of 92. He was the son of the late Walter Lawrence and Jessie Manning Brown. At the time of his death, he was a resident of the Springmoor Retirement Community.

As a native of Jamesville, NC, Walter was the seventh generation of Browns to call Martin County home. Surrounded by family, he appreciated growing up in a small rural town where he experienced a nurturing community and lifelong friendships. While in high school, he earned his Eagle Scout. Following his graduation from Jamesville High School, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1949 after serving in the European Theatre with the U.S. Air Force in World War II. While at UNC, he met his future wife, Jane Gower, of Greenville, SC, and they married in 1951.

Walter and Jane moved to Raleigh in 1952, and he began a 39-year career with Hudson Belk Company, retiring as a senior vice president in 1991. Following retirement, he began working with his son at Layline, Inc.

Walter was involved in education and community affairs. He was chair of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and president of the Raleigh Jaycees and the Kiwanis Club of Raleigh. He was chair of the Rex Hospital Foundation, and served on the Raleigh Southern National Bank board, which later merged with BB&T. He served on the Raleigh School Board and was president of the Wake Education Partnership.

An active member of Hillyer Memorial Christian Church, Walter was a lifelong member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He served as chair of the church's official board, as well as serving as an elder, trustee, and Sunday School teacher. He also served as the president of the Christian Church in North Carolina and as chair of the board of trustees at Barton College in Wilson.

Walter is survived by his wife, Jane Gower Brown; children Virginia Grimes (Neill) of McKinney, TX; Margaret Nelson (Ward) of Lookout Mountain, GA; Walt Brown (Anne) of Raleigh; grandchildren Jane Oliver (Mario), Ben Grimes, Merrill Nelson (Gray), Sam Nelson (Sally), Wes Nelson, Marion Brown, and Jane Brown; and great-grandchild Virginia Mae Oliver. He is also survived by a brother, Don Brown, of Plymouth, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Walter was predeceased by his sisters, Margaret McCaffity and Sarah Daniels, both of Raleigh.

A celebration of life will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, February 24, 2018, at Hillyer Memorial Christian Church, 718 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, with the Rev. David Mallory and the Rev. Dr. Neill Grimes officiating. Visitation will follow the service in the church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Hillyer Memorial Christian Church, Endowment Fund, 718 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC, 27603; Barton College, Walter L. Brown, Jr. Endowed Scholarship, Box 5000, Wilson, NC, 27893; or Springmoor Endowment Fund, 1500 Springmoor Drive, Raleigh, NC, 27615.

Online condolences may be made to the family at

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Published in The News and Observer on Feb. 23, 2018.
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February 23, 2018
We wish the best for the Brown Family, and may God give you comfort.

Mark Hicks and Family
Mark Hicks
February 23, 2018
Another prominent figure from my childhood
and Hillyer Memorial Christian Church.
May my prayers be with the family.
Adam Moser
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