• Brown, Jack L..

Jack Lee Brown loved competition from the day he was born to Cora Mae [Sing] and Homer Lee Brown on Jan. 8, 1929 in Fort Worth to his last, Sept. 17, 2016. Whether it was making pocket money off of retirees at Buckner Park in Dallas as a child, making a name for himself as an All-American basketball player at SMU, or playing bridge with the Lake Highlands North Thursday Bridge Club later in life, Brown was constantly challenging himself physically or mentally while building relationships with family and friends. After moving to Dallas months after his birth, he grew up on Worth Street with his mother and siblings, George Drown, Wanda Jean and Leon, and attended Spence Junior High. He found a father figure in Coach E.O. Doc Hayes at Dallas Crozier Tech High School. Brown was too short to play basketball for his junior high, but after a trip to the hospital in high school that required a tonsillectomy, he hit a growth spurt that surprisingly added six inches to his height. Hayes coached Brown for eight years of basketball including four at Crozier Tech and then another four on The Hilltop at SMU. In his high school career, Brown led his team to a state 2A championship in 1946, where he scored 10 of his teams 32 points, earning him an All-State Tournament Team nod. He led Tech to another state final appearance in 1947, his senior year, but missed the game due to illness. He was a four-year letterman, a team captain, a two-time All-City Team honoree, earned All State Five designation once and lettered in baseball. Brown was the first recorded MVP of the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game in 1947, scoring 11 points in front of a capacity crowd of 3,000 spectators at El Paso Coliseum. On top of his athletic honors, Brown was a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the Linz pin. Following his high school career, Brown moved a few miles away to SMU, where he played from 1947-1951 on full scholarship. When he graduated in 1951, he held SMUs career points record with 827 and will always hold the record for the longest shot made in Perkins Gym, the home of the Mustangs prior to the construction of Moody Coliseum. He was named All-SWC in 1950 and 1951 and was a third-team All-American in 1951. Later in 1976, he was recognized and inducted into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame. The most important play of Browns career might have taken place on the volleyball court, when he knocked a girl down in the fall of 1949. Afterwards, he called her up and took her to get a Coke. On March, 21, 1953, he married that girl, Ann LaVonne Dickard, at East Dallas Christian Church. She knew of him in high school as the hot-shot basketball player at Crozier Tech who beat her Woodrow Wilson Wildcats. After his tenure at SMU, Brown toured with the Harlem Globetrotters as a member of the opposing college All-American team. Through that experience he guarded Goose Tatum and played in front of the largest crowd to ever see a basketball game at the time at the Rose Bowl. Much like his childhood days, he won more money than his paycheck while on tour playing poker with the Globetrotters. Although he was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers, but chose to join the army after several years in the Naval and Army Reserves. While with the Naval Reserves, he participated in training exercise in Pensacola, Fla. landing planes on aircraft carriers. While with the Army, Brown continued his athletic career, playing basketball and softball and was given the All-Army designation in basketball in 1953 and 1954. He would have gone overseas, but was told he was boosting moral and instilling pride in being a winner by his commanding officers. After his time in the service, he worked for Sun Oil Company in the human resources department for 22 years, while playing semi-pro basketball for the company and volleyball for the Dallas Athletic Club. Brown served as the director of the Spring Valley Athletic Association and then began his final career as a safety consultant for underground utility companies. He was pushed into the field by his friend, Tom Stimson, and received the same training as OSHA inspectors. In his retirement years, he worked with his wife Ann in her convenience store at The Worthington in Uptown Dallas, where they were beloved by everyone who walked through the front door. The couple raised their four children in the Lake Highlands area beginning in 1954 and never left the neighborhood. During that time, he was recognized for 15 years of perfect attendance at the White Rock Rotary Club. Browns hobbies including coaching his sons baseball teams, judo and barbershop quartet singing. He became a black belt in judo and also taught all of the kids. He was a member of the Big D chapter and sang bass with the Substitoots, which led him to encourage all four of his kids to take piano lessons and learn to read music. The family attended East Dallas Christian Church where he was a deacon, choir member, youth sponsor and played softball and bowled for their church league team. He would pick up the golf clubs on occasion and swung at Bob-O-Links or in company tournaments. He could never turn down a game of cards or dominoes, which typically broke out at every family gathering or holiday. In his later years he played bridge at the Lake Highlands North Thursday Bridge Club and successfully petitioned the mayor to have a handrail installed at the recreation center to assist the seniors in the club. He is survived by his wife of 63 years Ann LaVonne Dickard Brown; children Melinda Lindy Kay Brown Kurtz (Jim), Jack Lee Brown, Jr. (Karen), Charles Dickard Brown (Melanie) and Meredith Ann Brown Hill (Brenden); grandchildren Erin Adriane Kurtz (Jamieson), Justin Glen Kurtz, Travis Luke Brown, Melyssa Elizabeth Brown, Nathan Dickard Brown (Sarah), Corbin Anthony Brown (Katherine), Jordan Matthew Brown (Lucy), Lauren Alison Hill and Courtney Ann Hill; great grandchildren Olivia Kay Wrobel, Brayden Owen Kurtz, Barrett David Brown, Ephraim Allen Brown, Jensen Edward Brown and Morgan Rose Brown; sister Wanda Jean Hill; nephew Robert Bobby E. Drown and his daughter Delaine Drown and her sons Payton and Dillion Diffee; niece Marla Hill Christian (Johnny) and her children Tiger Christian, Cory Christian and Kelley Christian Gram (Aaron) and her daughter Cora Christian; niece Cynthia Hill Knowles (Drew) and son Drew Knowles (Amber) and their daughter Adelyn Knowles and daughter Hannah Knowles; and cousin in law Carolyn Smith Lewis. Funeral Services will be held at 10:30am on Friday, September 23, 2016 at East Dallas Christian Church at the corner of Peak and Junius in Dallas, Texas. The family will be present for a visitation/viewing beginning at 9:30am. A reception will follow in the church Parlor. Interment will be at 2:00pm at the Dallas Ft. Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas, Texas. If it is your wish, donations in Jack's name may be made to East Dallas Christian Church or the Make a Wish Foundation. The family of Jack Brown would like to especially thank Allen Family Funeral Options (Rick and Melanie Allen, Danna Shaw), Charles W. Smith (Kenny Reding and Justin Kurtz), and SinoSource (Ken Jiang).
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PostedSeptember 27, 2016