William "Bill" Raymond Brown, Jr., age 88, passed away on July 1, 2020 in Lecanto, FL under the loving care of his family and Vitas Hospice. He was born on April 2, 1932 in Lignum, Culpeper Co., VA on his parent's kitchen table.
Bill was the only son of William "Willie" Raymond Brown, Sr. and Clara Maude Johnson of Alexandria, VA and later Inverness, FL. He grew up in a small country town and began working around the age of 10. At that time the owner of the local General Store would let him drive the feed truck to the train tracks and along with a few neighboring boys would proceed to unload a box car full of 100lb bagged feed, drive it back to the store and unload it. They did this all for a bottle of ice-cold Pepsi Cola.
Bill graduated from Fairfax High School in Fairfax County, VA in 1949 wherein he was a member of Future Famer's of America, Forest Fire Fighters Club, Student Government, was Homeroom President and the Vice-President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. During his Senior year, Bill worked in the school print shop as a press operator and absolutely loved it. He desired to continue the vocation after graduation, but was not able to find a job with the local newspaper. Afterschool, he worked as a line cook at the Howard Johnson's Restaurant. Shortly after graduation he began working for the FBI in Washington, DC as a mail clerk. This is where he met his bride to be, Mary Madeline McWhorter, with whom he fell in love at "first sight." They were married August 25, 1951 at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
Bill joined the Navy on March 25, 1952 as an instrument man (one who makes sights for weapons) and served until May 16, 1956 on an LST-611 called USS Crook. Toward the end of his military service he was assigned to work under the Marine Corps as a mail clerk of the Brigg at the Naval Station Great Lakes, IL. After his discharge Bill, his wife and his two oldest children moved to Alexandria, VA until 1962.
In 1962-3, he moved his family, now 4 children, to the McWhorter dairy farm in Chantilly, VA. They loved living the farm life but in August of 1964, decided to move to Woodbridge, VA. Bill and Mary were members of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Virginia and he served on the vestry in Woodbridge, VA with Colon Powell. He worked for Equifax in Washington, DC as an insurance investigator for many years. Bill took pride in his work and treasured the friendships he made at Howard University. He was the top investigator making full bonus every quarter. After a change in management with Equifax, he and his wife decided to open up Madeline Ceramics in Occoquan, VA. Bill left the Insurance business and spent his days pouring greenware and doing whatever heavy lifting Mary needed him to do. Their reputation for quality greenware spread quickly and before long, other ceramic stores in the area were buying greenware from Madeline Ceramics to resell in their own stores. During this time, he also worked part time driving a school bus and as a shoe salesman at Sears in Landmark, VA to help take care of their large family of, by this time, 6 children. Unfortunately, the ceramic shop was hit by two hurricanes one year apart, the latter being Hurricane Eloise which was quite destructive for the east coast. The damage was beyond repair and in 1975, they decided to move to Daytona Beach, FL with their 4 youngest children. While there, he applied for a position with the Police department but changed his mind. They moved to Winter Haven, FL and he began working for Equifax again as an insurance investigator.
One day his boss came to him and asked him how he felt about moving to a satellite office in Inverness. Since he had never heard of such a place, Bill decided to drive down and check it out. When he and his wife made it to Inverness, they passed St. Margaret's Episcopal church and felt it was a sign, since their beloved parish was of the same name in Woodbridge, and therefore should make the move to Inverness. So, in 1975, they settled in Inverness, FL and he continued to work for Equifax until he retired
During retirement, he realized his high school dream of becoming a printer. His wife, Mary, was an accomplished artist and she began making greeting cards of all types with her artwork. Bill would print these in bulk to be sold at local businesses and online.
Bill and Mary were members of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Florida. Bill served as the "supervisor" of the church building and expansion project and through his contacts in the county was able to complete the project under budget and in record time.
Bill was the primary caretaker for his wife, Mary, during her long illness until her death in 2016. He later moved to an assisted living facility so that he could mingle with people of his own age group and mutual interests. Bill was one of the friendliest guys one could ever meet. Everywhere he went he was an instant friend of anyone who was fortunate enough to make his acquaintance. He loved to share his life stories with anyone who would listen. He was proud of his large family and would often praise their accomplishments. Bill was a gentle man who loved deeply and was always ready to jump in and lend a hand in any situation.
In addition to his parents, Bill was predeceased by his beloved wife of 65 years, Mary Madeline (McWhorter) Brown in 2016 and sister, Shirley Anne (Brown) ReFalo who died in 2014.
He will be dearly missed by his surviving children, William R. Brown, III and his wife Kathy, Dr. Patricia Lynn (Brown) Petitt and her husband Mo, Richard Thornton Brown and his wife Dr. Rochelle Marie "Shelley" Knowles, Mark Carter Brown and his wife Jennifer Mastin, Kristin Jeanne (Brown) King and her husband Chaz, Kelley Marie (Brown) Johnson and her husband Erik; Grandchildren, Tara (Jeffery) Allen, William Raymond (Kris) Brown, IV, Lisa (Raymond Mitchell) Lester, Amanda (Mark) Woodall Brown, Samantha (Mario) Hernandez, Sarah Brown, Jessica (Kenny) Seagar, Melissa (Dar-lyn) Claytor, Crystal Claytor, Igrayne (Michael) Dias, Rhiannon (Jon) Carvalho, Richard T. Brown, II, Bradley Brown, Amelia Brown, Stuart Simmons and his companion Sarah Smith, Amanda (Don) Richards, Amber (Tyler) Woodruff, Catelyn (Jodys) Donate, and Erik Johnson, Jr.; Great-Grandchildren, Michael Phillips, Matthew Allen, Jeffery Allen, Abigail Allen, Kimberly James, Taylor Darneall, Jessica Maloney, Shannon Maloney, Rian Mitchell, Casey Mitchell, Alexis Mitchell, Austin Mathew Doer, Ayden Robinson, Eziekal Woodall, Ashlyn Woodall, Adylen Woodall, Logan Gochaut, Brandon (Katherine) Santana, Angelique Ball, Keoni Ball, Roderick D. Bruce, III, Jade Dias, Johnathan Bruce, Myles Dias, Macie Dias, Natalie Carvalho, Isabelle Carvalho, Jocelyn Carvalho, Gage Simmons, Darragh Richards, Ruairi Richards, Lincoln Woodruff, Isabella Donate and Sophia Donate; Great-great-grandchildren, Isaiah James and Aveya James; nephews and nieces, John J. (Jude) ReFalo, III, Michael B. ReFalo, Richard L. (Allison) ReFalo, Robert P. ReFalo, Lynda M. Boysel and many extended family.
Family will be receiving friends and family from 9AM – 11AM, with a funeral service beginning at 11AM, Friday July 10, 2020 at Brown Funeral Home & Crematory in Lecanto, FL. Burial will follow at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bill's name to Vitas Hospice in Lecanto.
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Published by Citrus County Chronicle on Jul. 7, 2020.