BROWN, Jr., Clarence J. "Bud"
Veteran, businessman and public servant Clarence J. "Bud" Brown, Jr. of Urbana, OH, passed away peacefully in his home on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. His loving wife of 66 years, Joyce Eldridge Brown, was by his side. He was 94 years old.
Bud was born June 18, 1927, in Columbus, OH, to newspaper publisher, Secretary of State of Ohio and future U.S. Representative Clarence J. Brown, Sr. and Ethel McKinney Brown. He attended public schools in Blanchester, OH, and Washington, D.C., graduating from Western High School in 1944 at age 16 and matriculating to Duke University through the V-12 Navy Officer Training Program.
Upon graduation in 1947 at age 19, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserves. He next earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, Class of 1949, at age 21. He was then called to active duty in 1950 serving on a naval transport with amphibious forces during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged from active duty in 1952 at the rank of Lieutenant J.G. USNR.
As a 9-year-old, Bud earned 15¢/hour assembling catalogue sections at the newspaper & commercial printing plant owned by his father. At 12, he was selling ads and subscriptions to his own hand-set, one-column newspaper during the summer; "competing" with his father's weekly.
So it was only natural that in 1953 he bought a half-interest in the weekly Franklin Chronicle of Franklin, OH. There he met his wife-to-be, Joyce Eldridge, a pianist & composer, while she was home from New York City visiting her parents. They were married on June 11, 1955, at Joyce's childhood home in Franklin.
In 1957, Bud re-joined his father's growing publishing business, The Brown Publishing Company, and the young family moved to Urbana, OH, to operate the newly-acquired Urbana Citizen. After the death of his father in 1965, Bud became the president and chairman of the board of The Brown Publishing Company, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 2002. During his 37 years of leadership, Bud grew BPC from one daily and three weekly newspapers to 15 dailies and as many weeklies. 1965 also saw Bud run for and win a special election for the Ohio 7th District U.S. Congressional seat that had been vacated due to the death of his father who had held the seat for 27 years. Bud continued to serve the 7th District for the next 17 years until he retired from Congress to run as the Republican candidate for Governor of Ohio in 1982.
In 1983, he served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce in the Reagan Administration until July 1987 when, after the untimely death of Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge, he served as Acting Secretary of Commerce until January 1988.
From 1989 until 1992 Bud operated a Washington, D.C. consulting firm; then from 1992 through 1999, he served as President of The U.S. Capitol Historical Society.
Clarence J. "Bud" Brown, Jr. was awarded honorary degrees from Miami University, Central State University, Wilberforce University, and Urbana University. He founded or co-founded The Ohio League of Home Dailies, Urbana Rotary Club, Urbana City Park & Urbana Municipal Pool, The Beth Brown Memorial Foundation, The Friends of Cedar Bog, The BrownRidge Foundation and served on several boards including The Ohio Newspaper Association, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, The Grimes Foundation, The U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Foundation (Vice-Chairman), the association of Former Members Of Congress (president), First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, Fourth Presbyterian Church of Bethesda, MD, The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., Harvard Business School Club of Washington, D.C. (president and chairman), Wilberforce University, Urbana University, and The St Albans School. And in 1978, Eagle Scout Clarence J. Brown Jr. was named National Eagle Scout of the Year.
He is preceded in death by his parents Clarence J. Brown, Sr. and Ethel McKinney Brown, sisters Betty Brown Dearing (Roy Dearing) and Dorothy "Dode" Brown Haines (Robert Haines), and his daughter Elizabeth "Beth" Ellen Brown.
He is survived by his wife Joyce Eldridge Brown, children Clarence J. Brown III (Jeanne Johnson), Catherine "Cate" Helen McKinney Brown Brinnon and Roy Eldridge Brown (Christine Nazarovech) and grandchildren Rose Beth and James Ransom Johnson-Brown, Clark Evan II and Camille Anderson Brinnon and John Henry "Jack" Brown as well as the Haines and Dearing Families.
Visitation will take place from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at VERNON FUNERAL HOME in Urbana, OH. Masonic Honors will be provided at 7 p.m. by Harmony Lodge #8 F. & A.M.
Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, February 2, 2022, at The First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, OH, followed by interment with military honors at Oak Dale Cemetery and a reception at Urbana VFW's BrownRidge Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be sent to The BrownRidge Foundation, 430 Scioto St., Urbana, OH 43078.