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LEGACY: Fred L. Brown Jr. (Jan. 16, 1938-Jan. 26, 2021)

The homegoing service for educator and entrepreneur Fred L. Brown Jr. was held at N.J. Ford Chapel, 12 South Parkway West, last week (Feb. 4).

Mr. Brown, who was born Jan. 16, 1938, died of heart failure on Jan. 26. He was 83.

For Mr. Brown, who was born at 916 Randle St., the Klondike Community nurtured his roots. As a child, he “accepted Christ” at Friendship Baptist Church, where his great-grandmother was a founding member in 1904. He was active within Friendship throughout his life.

He attended Klondike Elementary School and St. Anthony’s Catholic, where he was in the marching band and played clarinet. He was a member of WDIA’s Teen Town Singers.

A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, Mr. Brown attended Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, where he traveled as part of the college’s famed concert choir. He transferred to and graduated from Tennessee State University, where he majored in mathematics and history.

Hired as a teacher in the old Memphis City Schools system, Mr. Brown had a nearly 30-year career that included principalships. In 1965, he married Lois Annette Neely, who was an elementary school teacher when they met. In 1968 after the assassination here of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he was named principal of Gordon Elementary to help the school and the community.

After earning a master’s degree in 1974 at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), Brown became principal of Larose Elementary School. Later, he became an evaluator with the State of Tennessee.

Mr. Brown ended his education career as principal of Vance Junior High School, retiring at 49. He teamed with his wife to operate a flower shop and transitioned with her into tuxedo and evening gown rentals, creating Affordable Rentals. She died in 2019.

He was a part of The Memphians, a group of professionals who met to make Memphis better.  men, teachers, administrators, and The Corner Club, where connections from the neighborhood and high school met for encouragement, support and to “solve the problems of the world.”

Mr. Brown leaves his son, Fred (Robin) L. Brown III, and two granddaughters, Faith Brown and Fierra Brown, all of Memphis. He also leaves a host of other relatives and friends.


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