- 92 years old
- Date of birth: Nov 22, 1921
- Date of passing: Jan 14, 2014
- Place of passing:
Gainesville, Georgia, United States
Memorial Service: Saturday, March 1, 2:00 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville GA
Roger Henry Brown, Sr., was born on November 22, 1921 in Wheeler County, Georgia, the son of Daisy Blann and William Sloan Brown. He had five siblings -- Verna, Carrie Lee, Eva Dee, Waldo, and Dorothy Hilda. He grew up on a small farm near the town of McRae, Georgia and at age 21, entered Company A of the United States Navy’s 78th Construction Battalion (SeaBees), serving from 1942-45. His company was charged with building runways, docks and housing on a series of Pacific Islands including New Caledonia, New Guinea, Los Negros, Admiralty Islands, Ponam and ultimately, Okinawa. On Ponam, the Company was charged with the daunting task of constructing an operational runway in 11 days and succeeded, foreshadowing a future signature achievement in Brown’s career.
Upon the war’s conclusion, he enrolled in the Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated in 1952 with a degree in civil engineering. He was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. At Georgia Tech, while still a student, he was asked to design a bridge in nearby Athens and was one of the first to use a new approach to engineering design called the “critical path method”. He liked to point out that University of Georgia football fans would often stand on a bridge designed by a Georgia Tech engineer to watch football games.
Also in 1952, Brown wed Mary Carolyn Moore to whom he was happily married for 61 years. They began married life in Rome, Georgia and moved in 1956 to Gainesville. He worked for several years for the Georgia Department of Transportation before being hired in 1963 to Southeastern Highway Contracting Company as an engineer. He was quickly named President and under his leadership, the fledgling company grew to be one of the most successful highway contractors in the state.
Southeastern built hundreds of miles of interstate highway in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and North and South Carolina. The firm also undertook a job with a biblical timetable, the construction of runways on the new Atlanta Airport over a compressed schedule of 40 days and 40 nights, while the existing airport continued to operate. Severe penalties would be imposed if the schedule was missed and bonuses awarded if it was exceeded. Perhaps having learned from the Navy experience on the island of Ponam, Brown and Southeastern completed the project ahead of schedule.
In addition to his career, Brown was generous in his service of the community. He was a member of Rotary and served as its president in 1987-88. He served as President of the Chattahoochee Country Club from 1972-73. He was appointed to the board of directors of the First National Bank of Gainesville and served from 1974-92. He received the 1977 Public Service Award from the Consulting Engineers Council of Georgia, was named Engineer of the Year in Construction by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers in 1978, and recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Highway Contractors Association. In 1978, he was given the Silver Beaver Award by the Boy Scouts of America for his service. In 2000, he was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame.
Despite his numerous achievements, friends and family knew him as a quiet, caring, and loving person. He was generous and modest to a fault. Employees of his company frequently showed up at his door for advice, encouragement, even emergency loans, which he offered without hesitation. While talented at games of all kinds, like Scrabble, chess and poker, he was legendary for his skills at checkers. On the ship that carried his company home from World War II, another company was combined with his. The checkers champion of that company had heard of Brown’s prowess and challenged him, refusing to quit until he won. The two company champions met in single combat at first supported by large cheering sections. They competed for eighteen hours -- the other player never won a game.
Brown was a devoted and loving husband and an unconditionally supportive father. He is survived by his wife Carolyn, son Roger, Jr, daughter-in-law Linda Mason, three grandchildren, Farrell, Lucas and Gracie, and his brother Waldo.
Gifts in lieu of flowers may be offered to:
Berklee College of Music American Roots Music program (Under "Designation" choose "American Roots Music Program".)
A charity of your choice
God bless you and your family as you remember your beloved Father.
I pray for comfort for you and your entire family,
"May the Transcendent keep you in the most peaceful space free of pain and eternal joy."
"This is a sad day of remembrance for Roger and Carolyn and all those who knew Roger,Sr. He was a wonderful man.
Our love to Carolyn, Roger, Linda, Farrell, Lucas and Gracie.
Sam and Mary Lou Mason"
When I read and remember about who your father was, juxtaposed to the man you have become, I cannot help but think of two sons ". . . in whom I am well pleased."
God Bless you and yours!
"Dear Roger, Linda and family
Your father and whole family story has moved me touched my soul.
specifically because i deeply resonated with the bridges building legacy he left, which you and Linda so beautifully carry on and out.
His story strongly associates to a book Noa lent me 24 years ago.
The book was Mark Helprin "Winter's Tale".
Your Late Father - Roger Henry Brown Sr. evokes the novel's character Jackson Mead, A master bridge builder and an enigmatic figure, Jackson Mead constructed many fine bridges all around the country. He is a brilliant engineer and appears to have unlimited material resources for the job. He is eventually revealed to be an exile from heaven, whose purpose is to build one last bridge that will bring forth the end of the world as it is, letting him return to heaven. As Jackson Mead puts it, his purpose is "to tag this world with wider and wider rainbows, until the last is so perfect and eternal that it will catch the eye of the One who has abandoned us, and bring Him to right all the broken symmetries and make life once again a still and timeless dream. My purpose, Mr. Marratta, is to stop time, to bring back the dead. My purpose, in one word, is justice." Jackson Mead's rainbow bridge does not take, but he is not upset by the failure and disappears to bide time until his next attempt.
here is a beautiful quote:
"The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is. Everything that ever will be, is. In all possible combinations. Though we imagine that it is in motion and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. So any event is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible.
And, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but something that is.”
my most sincere condolences.
"Dear Roger, Linda and family:
Our deepest sympathies go out to you in your time of loss and remembrance. Roger, I appreciated the few quiet words we exchanged about your father at BTOT before his passing. Reading his story, I see you are carrying on a family tradition, as a builder of bridges and roads in your own right—and able to bring amazing projects to fruition on what must seem at times a Biblical timetable! As someone who grew up without my dad, I know it to be a gift to have such a father in one's life; we all share in that gift through the work you do. I was also deeply touched to see you have chosen Berklee's American Roots Music Program as one of the charitable gifts suggested for remembering your dad. I believe some music will get played to honor his memory—with scrape of bow and stomp of boot-heel!"
"Dear Roger, Linda and the entire Brown family: I am so very sorry for your loss! Roger, your father sounds like a truly incredible man. He has left quite a legacy behind and his strength, courage and tenacity have obviously influenced you and your life immensely. May Roger Sr. rest in peace, and may you all find comfort in one another and the numerous tales of your father and his beautiful life.
Warmest regards, Shannon"
Like so many, I am very saddened to learn of your loss. In reading the bio of your father, it is clear that he was a remarkable person who was a fine father and a man with a life full of wonderful achievements. I offer my sincere condolences to you and your family. - Jim"
My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Linda and your family. May you find comfort and peace as you live in the love and precious memories of your dad.
The entire Sapers family was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of your father, Roger. From all that was written about him he sounds like a truly remarkable man. We are sending you our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Aviva, Judith, Rhoda and Bill."
So sorry to hear about your loss of your father. He sounds like quite a guy.
As we reach then end of our time with them, I believe that we carry our fathers' lessons, thoughts, and feelings with us as we men pass through each stage of life. In many ways they live, and will continue to live, in us and our children.
I am very sorry for your loss. Clearly, your father lived a life of purpose and contribution and, of course, that is a legacy that you can hold onto forever. What a remarkable set of achievements to look back upon with pride and affection. I hope you are holding up under the weight of your loss but know that you have many friends to lean upon or share remembrances with as you navigate this difficult transition."
Your father was an amazing person who, I'm sure will live in you forever.... I lost mine and I know how difficult it is to accept our losses and allow them to go... but is it also time for great reflection, depth, meaning and love, my deepest condolences, sincerely, Mili"
Your father sounds like he was an inspiring man. May the years of happy memories comfort you, and your family, today and in the days to come.
My dad, who was the same age as your father, passed away a year ago. I think about him every day. Fortunately, he left me with many vivid memories and they have not faded a bit. I sincerely wish the same thing for you! It makes the loss bearable. All the best!
I am thinking of you in this difficult time. I am so grateful for all you bring to our musical community, and it's clear from what I've just read about your father that he was a wonderful man and role model. Sending you much warmth and sympathy.
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing. I am lost for words for the time being. Since I've made contact with you I'd planned to visit your parents. I'm so lucky to have met him and shared some of the most wonderful memories a young man like me can ever experienced. The memories of him will be with me and my family forever.
Chan Torn Lay"
My family's thoughts are with you during this time. We're so sorry for your loss. I read your dad's biography and it's truly inspiring. He must've been a wonderful father.
I wish I could have met him.
Take good care,
It is evident that your father was a wonderful man, and lived a good, long life. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Thank you for sharing the bio and photos of him."
"I am very sorry for your loss. My father was also from Georgia, though we lived in Munich, Germany, where he worked for Radio Free Europe. His eldest brother, my uncle Jeptha Tanksley, was a judge on the Georgia State Supreme Court. Perhaps my uncle and your father knew one another. My sympathies, thoughts, and prayers are with you and your family in this tender time."
Very sorry to hear of the loss of your father. Thank you for sharing his story. Great man, great life. My sincere condolences to you and your family.
Thanks for sharing this story, I'm sure there are not enough words to describe what you feel for you father. What I can add is that the inspiring son he raised,who is contributing to dramatically change the world through music, says a lot of the example your father set in place. I personally thank him for that.
Much love and condolences to you and your family at this time of unity and reflection.
I am so sorry for your loss. I remember your father beaming with pride at your inauguration as president of Berklee. I hope you are comforted by the joy you brought to him throughout your life.. My thoughts are with you, Linda, your mother Farrell, Lucas, Gracie and all of your family. Marjorie"
I am so very sorry for your loss. I remember you telling me about your Dad and your trips back and forth to spend important time with him. God bless you and your family during this most difficult time. Thanks also for having this place for us to read about what a wonderful person your Dad was ( and still is, in heaven).
I am thankful to know you,
God bless you,
Our most warmest and sincere condolences for the loss of
Your father. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family
During this difficult time.
Bernardo, Gustavo and Altagracia Hernández"
""...a quiet, caring, and loving person. He was generous and modest to a fault."
Roger and family, among all that was memorialized in writing about your father, husband, patriarch and friend.. the above words resonated with me the most. I however believe that there is no fault in generosity, or modesty as he was obviously a selfless man. I believe that he also subscribed to a wonderful exemplar from where such qualities and character stem. Clearly he was a learned man. Though, learned by the way this world would define educated, he clearly gleaned from a higher source.. evident by the way he led his life. I hope to meet him one day, and am assured that all of you also have the reality of the same hope. Possibly you may find comfort in the following words... " Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, " (John 5:28,29)
My heartfelt condolence."
"Dear Roger,....Thank you for sharing the wonderful story of your Dad's life. It opened a floodgate of memories of my Dad and Mom who were also born in 1921. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family..... Warm regards,.....Mary McClory"
"Roger, You and your family have given much joy and satisfaction to your father. He must have lived, bursting with pride and love for you all. Great life, great loss."
"Roger - I am so sorry about the loss of your dear father. He clearly led a full and rewarding life. My father was a SeaBee in the Pacific Islands as well. Thinking of you, and your family, and sending my sympathy and prayers.
"Dearest Rog, I see your father's life reflected in you. What better tribute can be paid to him? You, your mom, Linda, Farrell, Lucas and Gracie are all in our thoughts at this sad time. With much love, Molly, Massimo, Michela and Sabina."
"Roger - we are so sorry to hear about your father. It must be hard to lose a part of you so close to the heart. I listened to one of your current Berklee students interviewed on an Ithaca radio program last week. Jilly May played live and discussed a poignant song titled "Little Hands". The song beautifully illustrates the importance of parenting and how small children are influenced and molded by their surroundings. Knowing you, I am sure your Dad had large, callused, yet, warm and gentile hands. We are thinking of you.
John, Margaret, Holly & Olivia Mason"
"My deepest condolences, Mr. Brown. May the love of those around you help you through the days ahead."
"Warm thoughts to your family as you both celebrate his life and mourn his passing.
"Heartfelt condolences on the loss of such an amazing man. Hold your head high, Roger, and know that his wisdom, strength, generosity and compassion live on in you."
You are in Eileen and my thoughts and we wish you well in dealing with the loss of your father. I hope that you have fond memories of him that will give you sustenance for the future.
All our best,
Bob & Eileen"
My deepest condolences on the recent passing of your father. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time. I am happy that we got to speak about it for a moment during BTOT.
Sincerely, Jon Aldrich"
"Dear Roger, I'm so sorry to hear about your father's passing and send my condolences. I just finished pressing a new CD dedicated to my mother on the 1 year anniversary of her death. This page is a beautiful tribute to your father and this and the tributes to come are an important part of the grieving process. As hard as it was do and finish the CD I feel a connection with her through the process and I know your father feels your love and loss as your mourn and also rejoice in his life. Be well, Freddie"
I was so sorry to hear about the loss of your father,. Clearly he was a great man who lived a full life and that impacted so many. The tribute was so touching. I wish you and your family peace and comfort in your grief.
"I am so sorry to hear of your loss, your dad sounds like he was an amazing man. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Wishing you all the best."
"My deepest sympathies to your family. He will be forever missed and his legacy will live on. Your whole family is in my prayers.
Thank you for sharing this story. He sounds like an amazing man and I'm sure he'll be greatly missed. He raised a fine son and you're in our thoughts during this difficult time.
Deepest condolences... My wife and I will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers...
"Dear Roger and family, really sorry to hear of your fathers passing - will be thinking of you during this tough time All the best John and Valerie"
Our heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.
Rebecca and Jack"
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of such a remarkable father, brother, husband and friend. It is inspiring to read about his accomplishments in such a touching tribute. I am sending my warmest thoughts to you and your family. Strength to you and yours in the time ahead."
My heartfelt thoughts go out to you and Linda, your mother, and the rest of your family as you mourn the passing of your father and also as you celebrate his remarkable life -- both now and in the days ahead. God bless you all and sustain you through this transition.
"Our regards and condolences to Roger and Carolyn. Jacqui and I will hold Roger Senior in our thoughts."
"Mr. Brown and family,
I will keep your father in my prayers. May God bless him, and continue to watch over you and give you strength during this difficult time."
"Roger was a very kind, intelligent and wise man whom you could trust, depend on and love very much. He truly represented "The Greatest Generation". He survived the deprivations of the Great Depression, valiantly served his country in the South Pacific during World War II and built a great life for his family. Our love and condolences to his wonderful family. Sam and Mary Lou Mason"
"Dear Roger and family,
I'm sending on my deepest condolences on the death of your beloved father. Thank you so much for sharing so many personal memories of him during our BTOT conference. This tribute is beautiful and clearly, you are an amazing product of him. You are in my thoughts~
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