H. French Brown, Jr.
H. French Brown, Jr., age 89, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, passed away on January 11, 2020 after a 12 year battle with prostate cancer. French was born at home in Nashville, TN on October 21, 1930 to the late Kate McMurry Brown and H. French Brown, Sr. He moved with his family to Destin in 1948 and attended school at the Fort Walton School that housed grades 1-12. He was the high school quarterback and baseball pitcher. It was there that he met his sweetheart and future bride, Sugie Brooks, a majorette in the band, and they enjoyed 65 years of marriage with great times and fond memories. French served in the Army for two years and attained the rank of Captain while being trained as a forward observer for artillery. He was scheduled to be deployed to Korea, but the war ended two weeks prior to his planned departure.
After returning to Fort Walton, he worked as a radio announcer at his father’s radio station, WFBS, and later joined his father-in-law, Tom Brooks, in Brooks Realty where he worked in real estate for many years. French was active in molding Fort Walton into the City that it is today while serving as the President of the Chamber of Commerce and on the JCOC Military Affairs Committee that travelled to Washington to support our local military, he also served as the President of the Kiwanis Club, United Way and Catholic Charities. He was a City Councilman, Captain Billy Bowlegs XIII, and was the first elected Mayor of Fort Walton Beach, since the mayor was appointed by the city council prior to that date. All of the above was accomplished by the age of 40. He also was involved in many other activities through the years for the community and Saint Mary Catholic Church.
French was an avid golfer, pilot, boater and radio control model aircraft builder and pilot, along with being a talented artist. He purchased his first Harley at age 69 and had three, two wheeled motorcycles and the last was a three-wheel model that he rode until he turned 89 last year. He also enjoyed attending and telling jokes to his art and exercise classes and his classmates have missed him terribly since he was unable to attend class. He was best known for his infectious sense of humor that he used to brighten everyone’s day that he came in contact with.
What truly set French apart was that he lived his life setting the finest example for his family and friends of how to be a good husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and true friend. He was unwavering in his loyalty to his faith, his family and his friends and was steadfast until the very end in kindness, compassion for others, and of course, his sense of humor. Our family will have a piece missing from our hearts until we are reunited with him.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret Brooks “Sug” Brown and their two sons, H. French Brown, III and his wife Cissy, the Honorable John T. Brown and his wife Kim. He is also survived by four grandchildren, H. French Brown, IV and his wife Meghan, Andrew Brown, Celeste Brooks Brown and Trent Tucker, along with two great grandchildren, Ann Reilly Brown and Henry French Brown, V; his sister, June Brown Dooley, her daughter Kathy M. Dooley and his nieces and nephew, Louise, Tricia, Amy and Brooks Patterson.
The family would like to thank Regency Hospice, Dr. Harvey Hsiang with Emerald Coast Cancer Center and Dad’s caregivers for their kind and compassionate care.
A visitation will be held at Saint Mary Catholic Church on Thursday, January 16th, at 10:30 am and a Funeral Mass at 11:00 am, followed by a reception at Aunt Martha’s Bed and Breakfast. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Catholic Charities, 11 First Street SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
Expressions of love and sympathy may be placed and viewed online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com
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