Jackson County had a very rough week last week with the loss of three of their finest citizens. One of those was Jack Robert Brown who passed away on February 27 in Tallahassee. He and his wife Dru had relocated there due to damage from Hurricane Michael to their home in Marianna.
Although Jack would tell you he was not a born in Marianna, it was indeed his home. He went to school here, graduated from Marianna High School and returned here after college to raise his family.
Brown was well known as a star athlete while attending MHS. He was an integral part of both the basketball and football team. As an adult he was a successful businessman in many endeavors and served as a mentor to many due to his expertise in the business world.
Jay Mitchell James was one such individual that gives Brown praise for having come into her life, “There are really no words that would be amazing enough to describe Jack Robert Brown, Jr. He wore many hates in my life, father, best friend, mentor, boss and finally business partner. He taught me everything I know and I was so blessed and thankful he was a part of my life for 33 years. There is a big piece missing in my life now, but I plan to carry on his work ethic in our business, which he dearly loved. He will continue to be in my heart always and the words that come to mind are thankful, grateful and blessed to have known this man.”
You can’t talk about MHS sports in the 1950s through today without Jack Brown’s name coming up. Frank Rooks was a long-time friend and former teammate of his, “He was a real close friend and Jack Brown was a real good basketball player and a quarterback on the football team. He made the all-conference his senior year. He was a leader in everything he did, especially in football basketball. He was always a real good student. We went to see him a few days before he passed away and although he couldn’t talk, we got a couple of smiles out of him, just like he always had smiles for everyone. We are sure going to miss him.
Robert Earl Standland holds fond memories and has a void left today because of the passing of Brown, “We were good friends, we went to high school double dated Studebaker and we could drive it on Friday and Saturday night. Something I never let him forget is he gave me his measles one time. We had them two weeks apart and made me lose playing a few basketball games. Up until Hurricane Michael came, we had been eating at the oaks every Friday since I can’t remember when. His house was pretty torn up from the storm and they had been living in Tallahassee. He’s sure going to be missed.
Jackie Finlayson had memories from long ago, “He lived right around like a block or block and half from me. We spent a whole lot of time together. He and I used to go to work for his dad. His dad had a large family owned farm and I helped him during the summer work on the farm. One time we went goose hunting. Jack sent me one place and him and his dad stayed at another place. They were coming right towards me and they couldn’t see me. I was just getting ready to shoot but they beat me to it so I missed my chance to get me a goose. Jack was a fine man for sure.”
Andy McMullian has remained in contact with Jack since high school and was saddened by the news he had passed away, “We played football together and we had a good team. We tied for conference one year when we played together. We played basketball also. He was a great quarterback and my last year he was quarterback, he was one of the best that ever come out of Marianna.”
Margaret Miller Curtis attended Marianna High School with Jack Brown and has remained friends with him since that time. She tells a different side of Brown, “Jack did me a favor once that I heard about from my cousin. One of the other football players, who was a real “meat head” had his mother ask my mother to let him take me on a date. I had no interest in him whatever, but Mother insisted I go. We went to a movie and when it was over, we came straight home. He was no talker, so it was a boring evening. Apparently, he wanted his football buddies to think it was something far from boring. He bragged about “making out” with me, but Jack told him he was a liar. “Margaret is not like that, you jerk!” In Marianna in those days, to have a reputation of being “easy” was the kiss of death. Jack came to my defense, so I’ve been eternally grateful ever since. My first memory of Jack was when we were in either the 5th or 6th grade. We were playing tag at recess, girls trying to tag the boys, but none of us could ever catch Jack. Of course, there were some boys who wanted to get caught!”