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Crist J. Brown
FUNERAL HOME
Friedel, Williams & Edmunds Funeral Home - Utica
1123 Court Street
Utica, NY
Crist J. Brown
UTICA - Crist J. Brown, 95, Utica, passed quietly with his son by his side, in the comfort of his home. Crist was a well known downtown Utica Businessman & Florist.
Born in Utica to John C and Helen Mavromichalis Brown, he grew up in South Utica and downtown working in the family third generation Greek American business, Utica Floral Co. The Browns were one of the first of Mediterranean descent in the Mohawk Valley in the early 1800's.
Crist was born and raised in South Utica, attended UFA (where he was President of the Student Body) and Cornell University. He was active in everything, from years on the Grace Church Choir, as well as winning City championship boxing titles at the YMCA through high school. He was an involved officer of Demolay and throughout his youth, he and his lifelong best friend, F. Eugene Romano, were involved in early entrepreneurial adventures, even as children. He reveled in the stories of his childhood and adolescence with Gene, Leo Rayhill, Lynn Eldred and Bill Bouteliere, his best pals from the neighborhood. He served in the Army, where he quickly achieved the rank of Sargent Major and was utilized for his photographic memory on assignments around post WW2 Europe. He was widely traveled at a difficult time in Europe and North Africa.
On January 10, 1954, in Grace Episcopal Church of Utica, in an unusual and sanctioned Greek Orthodox-Episcopalian officiated ceremony, he married Katherine (Katie) Panarites, a Young Dean at Potsdam from Ilion, NY. Together, they raised their family, grew their businesses and spent almost 64 years of marriage (until Katie's death at Christmastime in 2017), together as blend of family and business.
In a family partnership, they built the Herkimer Motel property, which is still family owned as The Red Roof Inn of Herkimer. They were former owners of Georgian Courts and Woodside Apartments, as well as others. Crist was a founder and Director of Florist Clearing Network (FCN) of Florida and Empire Wholesale of Syracuse.
Through the years, the Browns Retail and Wholesale Businesses grew with Crist winning fame as a young florist who led America in "high style design" and as a regular featured speaker at national trade conventions for FTD and Teleflora. Then, as an analyst of trends in buying, for florists, leading Utica Floral to one of the top volume shops in the Northeast.
Crist was also well known for his political involvement and as a "Staunch Conservative", he said what was on his mind, without apology. He was active in campaigns from Goldwater forward. Heavily involved in the three way election win of Conservative U.S. Senator James L. Buckley in 1970, Crist's ability to retain and process numbers kept him in a core close to Ronald Reagan through the 1970's and 1980's.
He was a Member of the Utica Post of the American Legion, a Paul Harris fellow of the Utica Rotary Club, a life member of Phi Kappa of Cornell University, an officer and Life member of the American Hellenic Education and Philanthropic Association, a former Board Member of the Salvation Army, long time member of the Development Council of St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Every Downtown Utica Business Organization, the Chamber, Friends of the FBI and Society of American Florists.
He was a Patriot and an unapologetic Capitalist, which instilled a work ethic that was remarkable.
He was an investor and promoter of independently owned local businesses. He was a life member of St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Church, DeWitt and a member and supporter of St. George's Orthodox Church, New Hartford. Crist and Katherine would always think back to the years of no Eastern Orthodox Churches in the area and appreciated the welcome of both Grace Episcopal, Utica and St. Augustine's, Ilion, where both families worshiped as children.
When the Browns retired in 1995, they enjoyed their time and friends at their beloved homes on Sanibel Island, Florida and 50 years at Fourth Lake, Old Forge, where they finally enjoyed a less demanding pace.
Crist was predeceased by his parents; his uncle, Basil Brown, with whom he was quite close to growing up; his brother, Peter J. Brown and his wife, Angeline, of California; and most of his closest friends and family.
He is survived by two sons and their spouses, John (Christopher) and Dr. James (Susan); and three grandchildren. He is also leaves his brother-in-law, Bela (Bill) Gaspar, of Frankfort; and several nieces, nephews and Godchildren around the country and in Greece. Special mention to Gregory Savas and his wife, JoAnn, Herkimer, who, like the rest of the Savas' clan, were attentive and wonderful as extended family to the Browns throughout their lives. Also to long time family friend, Nancy Cox Marafioti, for being the Angel to our family and a source of love and support.
Sincere thanks to Hospice and Palliative Care, especially Crystal Merrill, for their respectful loving care and to Caregivers, Inc., who helped us maintain a 24 hour schedule for nearly three years and daytime helpers previous to that. Special mention to Arlene and Frank, who, with a host of others, provided the care and assistance to help us accommodate his wishes to stay in his own home.
A Greek Orthodox funeral will take place on Thursday (TODAY), August 5 at 10:00 AM at St. George's Orthodox Church, Higby Rd., New Hartford, NY, with luncheon and reception to follow at approximately noon.
In honor of Crist, feel free to make a donation to Hospice.
Online messages of sympathy may be left at www.fwefh.com
Arrangements are in the care of Friedel, Williams & Edmunds Funeral and Cremation Services, New Hartford.


Published by Times Telegram from Aug. 3 to Aug. 5, 2021.
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MEMORIAL EVENTS
Aug
5
Funeral
10:00a.m.
St. George's Orthodox Church
Higby Rd., New Hartford, NY
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18 Entries
Thinking of you and missing you. So thankful God blessed me with your employment and friendship. Everyone who truly knew you knew you were "the nicest, most kindest, sweetest, most generous man" i just loved our conversations and our time together. I enjoyed your stories of days gone by and your amazing knowledge right up till the end. There wasnt a single person who would come into your home that you couldnt tell the history of where they lived or where they were from. My only sadness was i never got to meet your beautiful and deeply loved Katie. I am so glad you are with her now. My boy and i stopped to visit you and Katie on our way out of NY. I left you some flowers as i promised i would. I pray they blossom every year and dont immediately get chopped off "by the darn deer"...as your mums seem to. I am now living very close to where you often spoke of "a friend of yours" living and my boy and i are loving the chance to be with my daughter and the beautiful grandgirls. You would never have approved of the house but i did manage to get a really nice plot of land with beautiful flowers and trees. God bless your soul dear Crist and thank you for the wonderful time spent working for you and with you. PS Beautiful obituary John. Your father would have loved it for sure. He loved you and your brother and was so proud of each of his sons. Take care.
Arlene
November 15, 2021
Please accept our belated but sincere sympathy during this difficult time of grief!
Emil Paparella
August 23, 2021
Spiros, Karen & Michael
August 14, 2021
My deepest condolences to the family, Christ and Katie were great employers to me when I worked at Utica Floral, I loved my job and they always were inspiring to me to do the best I could. May you Rest In Peace Christ, you are now with your beloved Katie. God Bless
Linda Sofranko
August 13, 2021
As a caregiver to Mr Brown I learned a lot from him I especially loved his love for children. Prayers and sympathy for the family as I was not able to attend his funeral. He will surely be missed I´m so glad Arlene introduced him to me. We loved his stories and his great wealth of knowledge I will miss his company . Prayers to all ....
Ang Mahler
August 13, 2021
John~ Our deepest sympathies to you and your family. We wish you peace and comfort as you grieve and know that the thoughts of many are with you.
Roger and Donna Pratt
Other
August 5, 2021
Grant and Christine McConnell
August 5, 2021
Dear John and Jim Ron and I are deeply saddened by your dad´s passing. He is finally at peace with beautiful Katie. So many memories over the 70+ years with your family on Farview and beyond. May those memories, especially your amazing grandmother, Angie and Peter warm your heart. All our love to you! Sheila
Sheila McCarthy Cuccaro
Friend
August 5, 2021
I am sorry that I can't attend the service . I learned allot from your dad . he will be missed by many .
ROBERT J DAVIS
Friend
August 5, 2021
Phil H
Friend
August 5, 2021
I had the privilege of being one of mr.browns home health aides for the past 3 years , he was a wonderful man , I enjoying hearing all his stories , John and family I'm so sorry for your loss , Mr brown may you rest in peace
Lisa cittadino
Work
August 4, 2021
I had the privilege of knowing me Brown later in his life.i enjoyed going with him to his church where he allwsys adored the children.mr brown was one of the smartest persons I have ever known.mr brown taught me a lot about american history and geography I will never for get where albania is on the map and never forget you mr brown.god bless
Frank Gerace
August 4, 2021
Frank Gerace
August 4, 2021
Utica has lost an icon. I will never forget our "engaging" conversations in the doorway of Utica Floral. Rest In Peace Crist.
Steve Gerling
August 4, 2021
A wonderful man who always had the most interesting stories to share with me. A lot of history. Always smiling with a twinkle in his eye.
Veronica Coe
Friend
August 4, 2021
John & Family... Our thoughts & prayers are with you....
Acropolis Greek Restaurant
Friend
August 4, 2021
As a very young woman, Mr. Brown scared the b'jesus out of me on many occasions. As I look back, I think maybe he was trying to toughen me up. He could be hard as nails one minute...and a big old teddy bear the next. My job at Utica Floral taught me a lot....that is for sure. I wouldn't be the person I am if I had not worked there. God Bless Mr. Brown's family, who were always, always incredibly kind and wonderful to all the employees. Rest in Peace Sir. Or more than likely, go give 'em hell!! You will be missed.
Laura A Logiudice (Sherman)
Work
August 3, 2021
John all our deepest sorrow: Your father Crist and mother Katherine will always be remembered in our masses, rosaries and prayers. Crist was an honest giant and highly learned man. Indeed a pleasure to know may his legacy and spirit remain through out our Mohawk Valley. God bless!
Janice and Samuel L. Russo Jr. (Utica NY)
Friend
August 3, 2021
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