Donald E. Brown, age 92, passed from this earth on May 24, 2021 to be reunited, in God and heaven, with his beloved wife, Bernadette, and his other deceased family members and friends.
If the truth be told, our loving dad truly died of a broken heart that would not heal, with all the grief he experienced in the many years of caring for our precious mom, Bernie, until her passing in July of 2009. After today dad, we know and trust that God has heard your requests and will grant to you and mom eternal peace and happiness… May God hold you in the palm of his hand!
Our dad was born and raised in Akron, the second youngest of seven siblings. His childhood was lived during the Great Depression and of necessity, he started working at the very young age of ten years. Don had newspaper and magazine routes and was a golf caddy at most of the area golf courses. He set pins at local bowling alleys, worked at dry cleaning shops, the Acme grocery store, and at the downtown department stores stock rooms and delivery departments.
From the start of World War II, Don worked on the Corsair Airplane assembly line at Goodyear Aircraft. He kept his school work up and was a graduate of West High School, leaving in his senior year to enlist in the Army Air Corps. Don received training as a G.C.A. Radar Technician Operator with the 351st Air Corps base unit.
After military service, Don attended the Akron University Electrical Engineering College under the G.I. Bill; while working at City Yellow Cab as a mechanics helper.
Don loved to dance, and in his spare time, he completed the Arthur Murray Dance Instructor Training Course and became an instructor in Modern Dance. Ironically, it was at a church youth club dance that he met, fell in love with, and later married, the love of his life and favorite dance partner, our mom, Bernadette on June 3, 1950, at Annunciation Church where they had first met.
During the Korean War, in 1951, while serving in the Army Air Force Reserve, Don re-enlisted in the Army and served with the 5th Infantry Division, 50th Field Artillery Battalion – G-3, P.O.R. Administration Services. After returning to civilian status, in 1954, he was selected as an Electrician Apprentice with the I.B.E.W. Local #306 in Akron. He received five years of schooling and on the job training in the electrical industry. Don received his Journeyman Wireman certification in May of 1959 and was assigned to work as a foreman, working with Hatfield Electric at the Chrysler Twinsburg Plant.
Following this, Don worked for J.P. Novatny Electric for 14 years as a foreman and eventually as Field Superintendent. After that, he worked as a foreman with Community Electric until his retirement in 1993. His retirement followed an on the job electric panel explosion at a plastic extrusion plant that left him with a back injury that would not allow him, as he would say, to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.
Our dad was a proud and very active Local #306 member and received his 60 year service award in 2015. Don served for 14 years on the Local #306 Journeyman and Apprenticeship Training Committee as its Executive Secretary and on the Pension/Annuity Committee. He also served as an Executive Board Member and on the Joint Management and Negotiating Committees and was a founding Trustee and member of the Health and Welfare Committee. Needless to say, our dad was a hardworking and dedicated individual!
Don was a former member of Annunciation and St. Paul Churches, serving on the Building Committee. He was a charter member of Nativity Church since 1975, where he contributed countless hours of his time and efforts as a member of the Steering and Building Committees. Don was also a member of The American Legion, Post 888.
Don was preceded in death by his cherished wife of 60 years, Bernadette (Schmitt); his parents, Marie (Miller) and Adolph Brown; brothers, Robert and James (Merline) Brown; sister, Bea (John) Murray; he also was preceded by his half-brother, Albert Ellis; and half-sisters, Grace Stuby and Maude Frazier.
Don leaves behind his son, Donnie (Beckie) Brown; grandkids; Sean, Lauren, Jennifer, Maria, and Renae; son, Rick (Barb) Brown; granddaughters, Dana and Deanna (Robert) Cole; daughter, Shelly (Bill) Orr; grandkids, Tim, Danielle, and Maggie. Dad’s family was his pride and joy. They were truly loved and cherished by him and mom. Dad also leaves behind sister-in-law, Ann Brown of Orlando, Fla. He left a virtual host of nephew, nieces and cousins to carry on with the annual family reunions he and mom hosted for over 25 years.
To all of dad’s construction buddies and his many Nativity friends and neighbors, with special blessing to Mark and Michele Cole and Maria and Pete Hirnikl, for their kindness and help to him; our dad would sincerely say “thank you for being my friend”… he meant it from the bottom of his heart.
Friends and Family will be received Friday, May 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Nativity of the Lord Jesus Catholic Church, 2425 Myersville Rd., Akron, Ohio 44312. A mass of Christian burial will be held Saturday, May 29, at 10 a.m. with Father Zachary Kawalec presiding. Due to COVID, masks and social distancing guidelines will be followed. Burial, alongside his beloved wife Bernadette and with Military Honors, will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, 2643 Waterloo Rd., Mogadore, Ohio 44260. Luncheon to follow at Dad’s house “just like our family reunions.” 2705 E. Mayfair Circle Akron, OH 44312. Please bring lawn chairs. Food and beverage will be provided. All are welcome! Fond memories may be shared at Hopkinslawver.com In lieu of flowers, if so desired, memorials may be made in dad’s name and memory to the Nativity Church Building Fund or to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center.
We hold you close to our hearts, And there you will remain, To walk with us throughout our lives, Until we meet again.
(Hopkins Lawver, AKRON, 330-733-6271)