Arthur Z. (AZ) Brown was born to Cleveland Brown and Viola Brown (neé Holland) on December 4, 1923. He was the sixth of nine children, Atha (Dot), Alla V (Jack), Felton, Cleveland (Babe), Leonard V (LV), Elbert (Buddy), Eva, and Velma Ree; all who preceded him in death). Raised in the Pleasant Hill community of northern Gregg County, it was a connection he maintained his entire life. AZ attended the local elementary school, going on to graduate from Longview Colored High School in 1942.
AZ was united in marriage with Dorothy Willis in May 1959, a union that would last 61 years. To this union was born Arthur Conan, Philippa, and Christopher.
At ninety-six years, it was a long life, a life of service. He served his country. As a Montford Marine, being one of the first to represent his people as an elite warrior, he earned the Congressional Gold Medal and a place on the Longview ISD Wall of Honor. He was part of the WWII Island Campaign, fighting on Iwo Jima, and was later stationed in Japan for a short time after the end of the war. After being discharged, AZ used the GI Bill to attend Jarvis Christian College, where he graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He went on to complete master’s degrees in both history and guidance/counselling at Texas Southern University. He then served his community, becoming one of the first teachers at Maggie B. Hudson Jr. High; teaching history. He served his God, teaching Bible classes, and being faithful his entire life. But most importantly, he served his family. He was a faithful husband to Dorothy for 61 years, and a loving father to Thomas, Conan, Philippa, and Christopher. While he never told us what we should do, he was the absolute embodiment of how we should do it. In our lives, he was an intellect that saw no equal, always the example of never quitting the quest for learning.
During his life, AZ worked for Longview ISD as teacher (Maggie B. Hudson Jr. High), where his students remember him for the day he called the banker to bring down a $50 bill so they could see who was on it. He worked at LeTourneau Industries, where he helped to build some of the weaponry sent to Vietnam. He worked for the United States Department of Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs) as a school administrator on the Navajo Reservation, where he administered one of the dorms, was over the Wednesday Navajo Taco nights, and even wrote a book documenting his time among the Native Americans. He worked for the City of Longview, where he managed the department of Sanitation until his retirement. But no matter where he was working, AZ Brown was about education, something he instilled in his children.
AZ departed this life on June 13, 2020. Marcus Aurelius said, “What we do today echoes in eternity”. We know that as long as our father is remembered, he will never really leave us. So, we commend his memory, his story, and his legacy to those who survive him; to his wife Dorothy, to his children: Thomas, Conan (and wife Sharon), Philippa, and Christopher; to his grandchildren: Quincy, David, Jerrell, Phylicia, Patrice, Philip, Krystina, and Teilor; and to his great grandchildren and his numerous nieces and nephews. While his line lives, we will continue to elevate his name. Today, we lift AZ Brown into the arms of our ancestors; may he be welcomed by them, may he stand among them proudly, and be at peace.
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