Special Words from Thiess Brown and Family
William Edward Brown, Jr. was born on May 20, 1922. Like so many others of his time, Bill was a proud veteran. Bill was of the generation that many refer to as the “Greatest Generation,” of which my late father was also a member. My father and Bill were close friends and both had a bond that was based on this shared history; they were among a group of men and women that is quickly disappearing.
Bill volunteered for service in the Army Air Corps June 5, 1942, but continued his College studies until November 1942, at which time he asked for active service.
His flight training took him to Sheppard Field, Wichita Falls, Texas then… he moved on to training at:
--- College Station, Texas ---
--- Corsicana, Texas ---
--- Independence, Kansas ---
--- San Antonio, Texas ---
--- Ellington Field, Texas ---
Life was fast and furious and while urgency filled the mood of the nation there was a real sense of excitement and adventure. He was 21 years old, 148 pounds, 5”6” tall. In other words just at the point where the term “boy” would wound his pride. But, Bill and my father were, for all practical purposes, just boys. They all were just boys (and girls) which I would like you to keep in mind, while I describe what he did over there in 1944.
Bill did well in all of his training, so well in fact, that they made him an instructor at Ellington Field. He served there from February 1944 to September 1944 and then at his request, transferred to Europe for overseas duty.
The most demanding flying he performed was in the Battle of Ardennes, the Battle of Rhineland, and the conquest of Central Europe.
He received the Air Medal,
The Bronze Service Medal,
As well as European, African, and Middle East service medals.
For this portion of his life we all must be thankful --- but as significant as this was ---it was just a small portion of what defined Bill’s life.
In a way what I have just told you about his military life seems to have been his ‘destiny’.
In 1928, as a child, his folks took him on travels to Washington, D.C. which was a big adventure for anyone in 1928 much less a 6 year old boy. His parents Bernice Beatrice Wolf and William Edward Brown wanted him to see the world and experience life beyond Floyd County. He remembered this trip fondly even though just 6 at the time . . . . and who wouldn’t. On this trip to Washington, at 6 years old, his folks arranged for his first ever airplane flight… over the Potomach with the Potomach Flying Service. We have actual proof of this event because his Mother saved the ticket stub and put it in his WWII scrap “book of mementos” about Bill. As many of us know, Bill’s father , Edward, was an early aviator…and so it was n Bill’s genes, too.
He attended public school at Floydada unaware that somewhere in the future in this small town he would find the love of his life --- Jo-Hal Wofford .
He grew up in a loving home with his older brother Martin Edward Brown and Gladys Ruth Brown Badgett , who both predeceased Bill.
It was a charmed life that allowed Bill and his siblings to grow to a pleasant and healthy adulthood due to the hard work ethic of his father and loving support of his mother.
A World War and a quick education in life prepared Bill for the biggest decision of his life. He married Jo-Hal in the Methodist Church in Plainview on August 2, 1948. That was just a little over 71 years ago this month.
Together they would have 6 children who would end up in some of the same schools that he attended as a child in Floydada.
They are with us today.
Rande lives in Polvadera, NM
Jo-Christy Brown of Austin, TX
Jo-Christy has two children Nikki LaCour, and Rocky Johnston, both in the Austin area.
I am proud to inform you that Jo-Christy married Clay Smith ---- and that would be me. I’m Clay Smith.
Web Brown of Oklahoma City, Ok
He has daughters Katy Jo Brown and Amy Brown, both in the OK City area.
Cary Meiners married Roger Meiners
Her children are Billy Meiners, Callie Kent Meiners, Joe Meiners, and Molly Meiners.
Tracy Brown of Covenington.
He has five children, Jennifer, William , Jessica , Jayden, and Julliana Brown
Thiess Brown and his wife Gina are also here today.
Their three children are Leah, Thiess, and Rebekah Brown.
There are 7 great-grandchildren as well.
When we reflect on his life, we are grateful for many things.
Any that were fortunate enough to spend time with Bill were immediately drawn to his kind, patient and loving disposition. Those that may not have known him were thankful for his courage at a critical time in our Country’s history.
Bill didn’t accumulate wealth in this life.
No buildings bear his name, there are no bridges named after him.
And Bill was fine with that.
Bill’s treasures are among us. Bill would tell you that his most precious treasure of his entire 97 years was his loving wife Jo-Hal. And she would say the same of him.
The things that mattered most are contained within these walls, in the relationships that he fostered and the people he valued above all else. His life has shaped his treasure and we would do well to strive for the same in our lives.
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