Brown, Melville Carroll B-24 Bombadier Age 92, of Key Biscayne, FL and Maple Grove MN passed away on June 10 2010. Preceded in death by his wife Jean Brown. Survived by his daughters Catherine Brown (Frank) Crescioni of Champlin, MN, Valerie Brown of San Antonio, TX and Victoria (Ray) Fields of San Antonio, TX. His grandson, Francisco Antonio Crescioni was his pride. He also is survived by five step grandchildren and their children through his daughter Vicky's marriage. Mel was born in Atlanta GA on August 10, 1917. His father was Dr George Thaddeus Brown, his mother was Avis Martin Brown. His sister Georgia Brown was named by the Georgia Assembly on her birthday, August 6, 1911. Mel lived on 14th Street with his family and attended 10th Street Grammar School. He also attended Georgia Military Academy. After a sojourn in Havana Cuba where he attended Ruston Academy he transferred to Boys High and graduated in 1938. He moved to Athens GA to study at the University of Georgia. He was active in ATO fraternity all four years he spent in Athens. He was elected President of the fraternity his senior year. He also was President of the Junior Class. When war was declared on Dec 7 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He spent many months training all over the United States and became a bombardier on B-24's after graduating from bombardier school in Victorville CA. He became a member of the 13th Air Corps. He was sent to Guadalcanal. On the night of July 8th 1943 the crew was sent on a bombing run to Bougainville. Weather was bad and the plane crashed near Santa Isabel. Mel was reported MIA to his family back in Atlanta. He and the other survivors were rescued 5 days later. He was seriously injured and was sent to New Zealand to recover. He was transferred to the Biltmore Hotel VA hospital in Miami FL. Mel was sent to Ft. Snelling to train at Minneapolis Honeywell Auto Pilot School. He discovered the "greatest bar in the world" The Jolly Miller Bar at the Nicollet Hotel. He spent many off duty hours there. He was assigned to Mt Home, Idaho where he met the love of his life, Jean Beveridge of Jerome, Idaho. They married on Feb 10 1945. Thus began a life of many adventures. They drove from Idaho to Miami FL and started to look for jobs. The Browns worked at the Liberty Hotel, the first air conditioned hotel in Miami. He also worked as a Spanish interpreter for Eastern Airlines. His sister Georgia Brown Hedges had moved there with her two daughters, Helen and Avis and life in Miami began. Mel and Jean then moved to Puerto Rico in 1947 and then Cuba in 1948. Their three daughters were born there. He prospered selling food and dairy processing equipment to the 27 Cuban dairies in operation. On Dec 31 1958, Cuba changed overnight, a new government took over. In June 1960 the Brown family left with 14 suitcases and moved to Coral Gables, FL. 3 years later the Browns moved to Princeton Junction NJ for a one year stay. An opportunity in the Republic of Panama proved irresistible and the Browns were on the move again. Mel and Jean stayed there 22 years -"life in tropics." Mel traveled in Central America, the Caribbean islands and South America. He also loved European travel and he and Jean took many cruises together. When he wasn't working he honed his golf game. He became Captain of Team Panama in the World Senior Golf Tournament held at the Broadmoor Hotel. His clients learned that the first two weeks in August, Mel would be in Colorado Springs. In 1986 Mel and Jean moved to Marietta, GA and lived there for many years. They then moved to Woodbridge VA in 2000. A move to San Antonio TX in 2007 into Assisted Living was next. Jean passed away in Nov 2007 and Mel moved again in January 2008 to live with his niece Avis Hedges Navarro. April 2010 he moved to MN to Wildflower Lodge in Maple Grove, MN in the Memory Care Unit. He passed away in North Memorial Hospice in Brooklyn Center, MN on June 10. A celebration of Mel's life will be held at a later date. Donations to the American Legion, VFW or Disabled American Veterans would be preferred. Cards may be directed to his daughters, Cathy Crescioni, 9615 Parkside Trail, Champlin, MN 55316, Valerie Brown 166 Grassmarket, San Antonio, TX 78259, or Vicky Fields, 19611 Encino Way, San Antonio, TX 78259
Published in Star Tribune on Jun. 13, 2010.