John Edward Brown, 79, of Meadville passed away Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, at Saint Vincent Health Center.
He was born Oct. 21, 1934, in Queens, New York City, a son of the late Lucy Curtiss Mason Brown and Vincent Hall Brown, both originally from Meadville. He married Martha Burkhead of Rayland, Ohio, in 1955; she survives.
John went from city boy to country boy when his family moved to Linesville, where he graduated from Linesville High School in 1952. He went on to earn two different undergraduate degrees and a masters of divinity degree from Palmer Seminary, formerly Eastern Baptist Seminary of Philadelphia. He also did graduate studies at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and was ordained as an American Baptist minister in Linesville Baptist church. John enjoyed a diverse ministry, which included being director of youth publications for the American Baptist Board of Education and Publication, Valley Forge. He spent time as an editor for McCrae Smith Publishing Company in Philadelphia and then went on to successfully author numerous books and articles, his works are listed in Contemporary Authors, Volume 45. Brown authored well over 200 articles and items in his lifetime, the most recent being his thought-provoking articles in both The Meadville Tribune and The Titusville Herald. Chasing his dreams across the state, both John and Martha owned and operated a successful greenhouse and flower business, Brown’s Florist, located in Albion, for 10 years before moving to Cambridge Springs to a farm he named “The Promised Land.” As the realization of another dream, he thoroughly enjoyed dabbling in light farming part time as he continued writing and working for Community Health Services/VNA.
Co-founder of Hospice of Crawford County along with Sister Mary Ellen Dwyer, John served as chief executive officer, and after his retirement, was chairman of the board of directors. Brown co-founded both the annual Winter Blues Bluegrass Festival, which has enjoyed outstanding success for several decades in Meadville, and the annual Spring Fever Folk Music Festival in Cambridge Springs. He, his wife and their daughter performed music professionally as the group, Music Therapy, The Trio, for many years around the area, and this brought him great pride and joy. In retirement, he served with the Pastoral Care Department of Meadville Medical Center as pastoral counselor and troubadour; later joining forces with his beloved grandson, Mason, to continue the music ministry for Meadville Medical Center’s patients and families and to carry on the long-held tradition of playing music at the hospital.
Serving as interim and guest minister over the years for many churches in the area, including Unity Church in Edinboro and Wayland Baptist church, John performed countless beautiful weddings and funerals. He and his wife were also associate members of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Erie Diocese chapter. He was given the honor of being keynote speaker for the 2012 graduation ceremony for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and lectured and played music many times for the Winslow Foundation’s annual seminar at Meadville Medical Center. He was greatly interested and trained in adjunct therapies such as music therapy, therapeutic touch and reflexology and was a certified hypnotherapist. He also co-wrote, performed and co-produced “Wheeling Home,” an album of original music with grandson and treasured sidekick, Mason Brown.
In addition to his wife, Martha, John is survived by his daughter, Heather A Brown of Guys Mills, her husband, Joseph D Shade, and their children, Melody Joah Brown and Mason Gallagher Brown; along with many loved and appreciated nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by a daughter, Susan Joy Brown; two sisters, Evelyn Irons and Gloria Hammett; and a brother, Vincent Dalton Brown.
Arrangements have been gratefully entrusted to White-Cool Funeral Home, with longtime friend and director, Gina M. McCauley, 1405 Main St., Conneautville.
Friends and family will be lovingly received on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the chapel in Meadville Medical Center’s Grove Street facility, where Sister Mary Ellen Dwyer of the Sisters of Saint Joseph will be officiating a memorial service beginning at 4 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Crawford County, 464 Pine St., Meadville, Pa. 16335; or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
Condolences can be left for John’s family at white-coolfuneralhome.org.