Obituary: Edward Brown

Naval officer, loving father and husband

Edward L. Brown died May 22, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas at the age of 91.

Edward, or Ed as he was known to his friends and family, was born March 5, 1926 in El Paso, Texas to Henry and Marjorie Brown. He grew up in El Paso, graduating from Austin High School. He attended the University of New Mexico under the US Navy V-12 program to become a Naval officer. His love of flying led to his transfer to the US Navy V-5 program for the Naval Air Force at St. Mary’s College. He later transferred to the Naval Air Station at Alameda, California.

World War II ended before his training was complete, so he returned to civilian life as a student at USC. While at USC he married his childhood sweetheart, Ruby Lee Hadlock, in 1946. He finished his final year at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, graduating with a degree in aeronautical engineering. 

The couple then moved back home to El Paso, Texas, and welcomed their first son, Russ, in 1948. A second son, Jeff, was born there in 1953.

Mr. Brown worked for Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, Washington. While living in the Puget Sound area he continued his love for flying, learning to pilot seaplanes. He later went to work for the US government at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. During this time, Mr. Brown and his then-brother-in-law, Boyd, tried their hands at prospecting for uranium.

Soon after, Mr. Brown was hired by Aerojet General in Azusa, where he worked on a number of propulsion projects, including the rockets that launched the first US satellites into orbit. After a two-year transfer to Aerojet’s Washington, DC office, Mr. and Mrs. Brown returned to California and settled into their home in Claremont, where they remained for 33 years.

The couple loved Claremont’s sense of community, its schools and parks, and were active throughout their time here. Their sons and grandchildren all graduated from Claremont High School. Mr. Brown took great pride and joy in his many years of participation in Claremont’s Fourth of July Parade, carrying dignitaries in his bright red 1968 Mercedes 250 SL convertible. He was also involved in the Claremont American Legion chapter. The couple were avid golfers, and could often be seen playing many rounds at the Claremont Golf Course and many other local courses and clubs.

In the early 1960s Aerojet formed a new division, ITADCO, specializing in international trade and agricultural development of countries around the world. Through this project, Mr. Brown was involved in developing a modern cattle industry in Colombia. This was right up Mr. Brown’s alley, as he really was a Texas cowboy at heart, family shared.

In the 1970s, Mr. Brown left Aerojet and, with a partner, formed his own company, Clean Air Engineering, to develop gasoline vapor recovery systems. Those systems were the forerunners of today’s gas pump vapor recovery nozzles. After his company was sold, he worked for Clayton Manufacturing as a sales representative until his retirement in 1991. 

He loved music and dancing and played piano, ukulele and Latin percussion. He encouraged his boys to play music, buying both of them their first guitars. The entire family enjoyed snow and water skiing together. Mr. Brown made annual trips to Utah for deer hunting. His sons have many fond memories of camping and fishing with their dad, family shared. He loved and took great pride in his sons’ and grandchildren’s accomplishments and relished spending time with them.

In 1993, after Ruby retired, the couple returned to their Texas roots with a final move to Pecan Plantation in Granbury, Texas. They fulfilled their dream of living on a golf course and near a place where Mr. Brown could fish and fly. Throughout the past 24 years, they made long-lasting friendships and enjoyed themselves in their community, active with golfing, fishing, bingo and bridge. Mr. Brown also took up oil painting and created some masterpieces that are treasured by his family, they said.

Mr. Brown was a proud and wonderful provider, a loving husband, devoted father and grandfather, his family shared. His presence will be greatly missed by his family and friends, but his legacy remains within all who had the pleasure to know and learn from him. The family takes comfort in knowing Mr. Brown was blessed with a long life filled with love, that his faith was strong and he was at peace at the time of his passing, they said.

Mr. Brown was preceded in death by his parents and his brother-in-law, Jim Hadlock. He is survived by his loving wife of 71 years, Ruby; sons Russ Brown (wife Karen) of Hemet, and Jeff Brown (wife Ann) of Claremont; sister Peggy Browning (husband Bing) of El Paso, Texas; sister-in-law Sue Hadlock of Rancho Mirage; granddaughter Kimi Ogg (husband Mike) of Santa Rosa; grandson Jeffrey Brown (wife Stephanie); granddaughter Lori Coughran (husband Steve) of Edmond, Oklahoma; grandson Adam Brown (wife Katherine) of Hawthorne; great-granddaughter Carina Ogg; great-grandsons Kasen, Braden and Karter; niece Karen Beck (husband Ken) of Mercer Island, Washington; and great-nephews Brian of Issaquah, Washington and Carson of Los Angeles. Two more great-grandchildren are expected later this summer. 

Inurnment will take place Monday, July 3 at 1 p.m. at Oak Park Cemetery, 410 Sycamore Ave., Claremont.



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