Gene Paul Brown  April 03 1935  March 28 2020

Gene Paul Brown April 03 1935 March 28 2020

April 03 1935 March 28 2020
Gene’s Obituary Private graveside services, with military honors, for Gene Brown, 84, of Hughes Springs will be held Thursday, April 2, 2020 at Harris Chapel Cemetery under the direction of Reeder-Davis Funeral Home of Hughes Springs. My Father, Gene Brown: Portrait of a True American Hero From a published interview from 2016: Gene Paul Brown had a childhood most of us cannot even begin to fathom. Born in 1935 in rural Indiana to Faye (Hilt) and Basil Vern Brown, Gene was the oldest of three boys. When his parents divorced in the 40’s (rare in those days) he had to help raise his brothers while his mother worked cleaning houses. Gene never had what you’d call a “carefree childhood” with toys and games to play with. He also rarely had new clothes or shoes. For his eighth grade graduation he had to wear an old, oversized suit that his father had left behind; when the kids laughed at him and ridiculed his clothing, Gene says he left right after the graduation program and never went back to school again. Unfortunately Gene didn’t have much time to attend school anyway. In addition to taking care of his 6-year old baby brother, 14-year old Gene worked dozens of odd jobs including setting pins in a bowling alley, bagging and restocking in a grocery store, and “pitching tents” for a carnival. After struggling several years to survive, at age 16 Gene followed in his beloved uncle’s footsteps and enlisted in the Navy. (His mother had to sign for him because he was underage.) Gene says he was “always fascinated with airplanes” so he tested high enough to enroll in Naval Aviation school in Hutchison, Kansas, studying Airplane Mechanics. From there he went to Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, California, serving on Naval ships The Bon Homme Richard and The Ranger. He was then stationed in Whidbey Island, Washington working on Early Warning Bombers. Throughout his twenty years of service, Gene says he was mostly onboard ships but sometimes on land. “It was always about keeping those planes in the air,” he says. During the Korean and Vietnam wars, he served two tours of sea duty to Japan, and Shore Patrol in the Philippines. He says it was exciting being onboard Naval ships, sometimes up to 6 months at a time. “They kept us busy and we had three meals a day. The only thing is you had to be really careful on the flight deck when those planes were taking off. Those suckers can get you if you’re not paying attention,” Gene says with a chuckle. Since many of his twenty years were aboard ships, he did not experience armed combat but says he was “always making sure that the planes were ready to go.” Gene’s final station was in Corpus Christi, Texas where he worked on attack aircraft aboard the Naval ship The Boxer. It was in Texas where he finally earned his GED and became a Chief Petty Officer. And Texas is also where Gene Brown met and married my mother, a widow with two young girls. All our lives changed for the better that day. My father worked hard his entire life. “There’s no way around it, you just have to work,” he says. “You can’t sit around and wait for someone else to take care of you. It makes you lazy.” (Even in his final dementia stages, my father talked about the need to get back to work. He said he was putting in waterways and building various things around the facility…) I ask how he escaped being angry or bitter about his difficult childhood–being raised by a single mom and having to leave home at such an early age. Typical of my father, he just laughs and again says, “Why would I? No matter how bad things were, I always knew I was loved by my family.” He adds, “That’s just life. We were never promised it would be easy or fair and you just do what you have to do and get on with it.” My father says he is exceptionally honored to have served his country. “I believe America is a place to fight for, and it has never let me down. As I retired after twenty years, I am proud of my service,” he says. On March 28, 2020 my father, retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Gene Brown, died from complications of Alzheimer’s. He was the very definition of an “American hero.” Despite all the obstacles and challenges thrown his way, he made the very best out of every situation. He was a master mechanic and able to fix everything from cars to airplanes. He taught himself how to build houses and was house-flipping even before they had a trendy name for it. Gene was also one of the first in Texas to design and build an underground home almost entirely by himself. He and a small crew of hired hands dug out the hillside, poured the concrete, and installed the plumbing and electrical work. The design inside was open concept, again long before that couple from Waco coined the term. If anything ever broke in our house—from can openers to washing machines—Dad knew how to fix it. And when the economy tanked during the Carter administration and Dad lost his chain saw/lawn mower repair shop, he immediately created another business by tricking-out old motor homes and selling ice cream and funnel cakes at state fairs and car racing events. On top of everything else, he was enormously loved and respected by his family and everyone who ever met him. Basically, Gene Paul Brown had a very successful life in every way possible. Gene is survived by his wife, retired Hughes Springs and Ore City High School teacher Lou Ellen Brown; a daughter, Lisa Brown of Longview; Ann-Marie Murrell (me), formerly from California but very happily back home in Texas; daughter Susan, from another marriage; older brother Bill and his wife Carolyn Brown; younger brother Randy and wife Angie; and sister Denise and her husband David Williams. He also leaves behind two grandsons: Jason Paul Robbins and his wife, Mimi Page Robbins of Longview, and Zackary Scott Zanardi of Dallas. Grandpa loved them dearly. (Two other important people in Dad’s life were his stepfather, Haehl Kuhn, and his paternal stepmother, Ruby Brown.) Thank you and God bless you, Dad. Heaven just gained an American hero. Read More

Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Gene Paul Brown April 03 1935 March 28 2020.

Reeder-Davis Funeral Home, Ore City

Death notice for the town of: Ore City, state: Texas

death notice Gene Paul Brown April 03 1935 March 28 2020

obituary notice Gene Paul Brown April 03 1935 March 28 2020

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