I lost my Brown family cousin recently, who was like a big brother to me. I just wanted to post his obituary here so I will have it for reference.
Obituary for James Max Brown
Our world lost a truly kind, generous and quietly funny man very peacefully. He was our Dad,Uncle, Cousin, Big PaPa, Granddaddy, Neighbor and Friend. He was a giver, helper, smiler … the actual hands and feet and hugs of the Lord in this world. He and wife, Myrtle, were together over 72 years, during which they took the world, literally into their family and home.
They lived in Memphis, near the University of Memphis, into their 80s. Max and Myrtle kept an open door there for all friends of their children, church members, and anyone with nowhere to go. They moved to Maryville, Tennessee, and into Asbury Place a year ago, residing then near the extended family of one of their sons.
Max grew up in and around Murray, Kentucky, played high school football, enlisted in the Army in the final months of World War II, and used his veteran’s benefits to enroll in watchmaking school in Memphis, where he met Myrtle Mae Daly and they married at age 21 (she was 18) and began a family. Then he began a career in fiber testing at Buckeye Cellulose (a Procter & Gamble product development affiliate) for 35 years, retiring at 58. He enjoyed bringing home samples of under-development new P&G products for sampling – the family enjoyed eating Pringles chips years before the rest of the world got them, but the disposable single-use bed linens were deemed scratchy by the family, and they never reached the market.
His next “career” after his P&G retirement was as leader of a team of retirees hired by Acura and Cadillac to transport (relocate) purchased vehicles between dealerships all over the Southeastern U.S., and Max kept himself and upper-end autos moving in that venture until he was well into his 70s.
The original three children were joined by whoever they brought into the core family unit, and it was said that “nobody ever left the family… vertically.” Max never met a stranger, known as he was by his gentle spirit and kindness.
Those welcomed into the Brown home came from prison, church missions, homelessness and from the various relationships of his children. The surviving children are Denise Brown Christopherson, of Port Aransas, Texas; Kerry Brown (Wendy) of Wears Valley, Tennessee and Kim Daly Brown (Chance) of Austin, Texas.
Max and Myrtle were charter members of St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Memphis since the early 1950s, and in later years helped to establish the Meeks Center there, where missions volunteers from all over the country could provide for Memphians in need. Max and Myrtle worked together in Methodist-sponsored natural disaster response (lots of downed trees removed from storm-ravaged localities) and in mission projects all over the U.S. and in many other countries, through the Volunteers in Missions (VIM) program of UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief). Their projects were located in Estonia and Cuba, three times each, and Palestine, and other spots in North American and the Caribbean. They generously gave of their own funds to take their children and grandchildren along on those trips to experience the real world around them.
They, on their own and through what is now the Road Scholar organization (formerly ElderHostel), visited almost all continents, including Antarctica. Max and Myrtle took a safari across Australia, and rode with the mailman into the Outback! There is said to be photographic evidence of them riding an elephant in India.
Max served for many years as a baseball and basketball coach for his sons’ youth teams, and he was a lifelong huge fan of the University of Memphis Tigers sports, especially basketball. He instilled in his children the love of travel and adventure. The family camped across the country every single summer of the children’s youth in a canvas tent in a station wagon. Nothing was deemed impossible.
Max was a man of humility, truth, and honor. He saw the value in every individual, and his spirit lives on through ever so many that he influenced who are still here on earth.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Fanny and James F. “Boss” Brown, and by his sister Jean. Max left behind the three children, a foster son, eight grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren, scattered across Tennessee, Florida and Texas, along with a multitude of friends, both in Memphis and Maryville. He and Myrtle most recently worshiped at Broadway United Methodist Church and with the Asbury Community.
There will not immediately be a memorial service. Max’s ashes will be scattered and a stone placed at Memorial Gardens in Memphis. Their amazing life together will be celebrated jointly upon Myrtle’s death, or possibly before. (She is doing fine, by the way!) Any memorial donations would be most lovingly appreciated to UMCOR – 458 Ponce De Leon Ave, NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 – for whom he and Myrtle traveled the world in mission. Our sadness here is nothing compared to his welcoming, only to be outshown someday by his reuniting with Myrtle for eternity.
From Max’s family, 10 Jan 2022