Obituary of Jay Brown Jr.
Jay died peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo, MI on January 6, 2018 at the age of 84, following a sudden stroke. He was lovingly surrounded by 4 generations of family. Jay was born in Kalamazoo, MI on February 13, 1933 to Jay Brown Sr. and Lola (Rowley) Brown/Bauer. He grew up in the Oakwood area and graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1951 after which he attended WMU. In 1957 Jay was united in marriage to his loving wife, Helen (Alman) Brown of 60 years, who survives him. He retired from the Upjohn Company after 24 years of service in 1990. Following his retirement, he partnered with his son in AES Builders and worked for Habitat for Humanity. He had a strong faith, and was a very active member of the Oakwood and Oshtemo United Methodist Churches. In the community, he was a member of theKalamazoo Home Builders Association, Remodelers Counsel,Oshtemo Small Business Association, Downtown Development Authority, Rotory Club and had served as a volunteer fire fighter in Oshtemo. He served the community on multiple occasions volunteering to build ramps for people in need during the annual “Rampathon” project.
Dad was a family man who enjoyed spending time with all of his siblings and cousins. In his youth Dad spent as much time as he could at his aunt’s houses on Crooked Lake Texas. Dadjoined the Boy Scouts of America as a teen and enjoyed his time spent at Camp Rota- Kiwan. He received his Eagle Scout badge at the age of 18 and sometime later was awarded the Silver Beaver award, the highest award in scouting! He dedicated much of his life to being a Boy Scout leader and took great pride in being a role model to youth. Dad spent many summer evenings coaching and umpiring baseball at Fletcher Field. He grew up hunting and fishing with his brother in-law Howard and always enjoyed time spent in the out of doors camping, hunting and fishing with our family. He enjoyed many hobbies including wood working & gardening and new the value of growing your own vegetables or a good day’s work.
In his retirement years he enjoyed morning coffee club with his good friends at Ted & Marie’s. “Grandpa” loved supporting all his grandchildren in their various activities and was extremely proud of their accomplishments. He also had a passion for Western Michigan Sports! He was a season ticket holder for decades and never had a doubt that his Broncos “will have a better season next year”. Volunteering as an assistant coach for the women’s softball team, “Coach Brown” truly enjoyed sharing his time and knowledge with the Lady Broncos! Over 25 years ago, Jay along with Construction Managementstudents at WMU built the ticket booths at Waldo Stadium still in use today.
Jay was a devoted husband and father who deeply loved life, his family, and his friends. Family reunions were of particular importance as he had a special place in his heart for all of his cousins, nieces, & nephews. He was an eternal optimist, had a robust laugh and many “words of wisdom”. With his friendly, jovial manner, Dad always did his best to make everyone feel welcome in any circumstance. Jay will be missed by many!
He is preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Charles Riddle, a sister Betty Buddemeyer, and a son, Jay Brown III. He is survived by his wife, Helen, his children, Katie (Dan) Dyer, Dave (Barb) Brown, Dan (Pam) Brown, and Andy (Pattie) Brown, his 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, a brother John Brown, sisters-in-law Laurette Riddle and Marilyn Alman, and many beloved nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Oshtemo United Methodist Church, with a luncheon to follow. Memorial donations can be made to Heifer International or Ministry with Community.
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