Jackie Lamar “Jack” Brown

Jackie Lamar “Jack” BrownJackie Lamar “Jack” Brown was born on April 20, 1947, and passed away March 29, 2018.

Jack was born in De Funiak Springs, Fla. to William Sparks Brown and Elnora (Hightower) Brown. Jack was the oldest of three siblings including his brother Allan Brown and sister Lydia Spiers.

Jack graduated from Ponce De Leon High School, Fla., in 1965. He joined the Navy in 1968 during the Vietnam era and served his country proudly for 14 years. In the Navy, among other specialties, Jack trained in explosive ordnance disposal diving. Jack honorably left the service as an E-5 ordnance mechanic, earning a Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Stars and other unit commendations during his Navy career.

Jack took a job at China Lake continuing in the field of EOD in 1978. He retired from the base in 2006, well respected in his field and the branch head of the Ordnance Evaluation & Research Office. Jack’s enthusiasm for his field of expertise, EOD, never left him. He still loved blowing things up!

Jack married his first wife, Mary Kathryn Marshall (deceased), in 1970. He then met and then married Leslie Brockwell in 1998 and immediately stepped into being not just a husband but also a father to her young children. As with many other roles in his life, Jack’s dedication and commitment to his new family was heartfelt and fierce. He waited patiently for Leslie to join him in retirement, occupying himself with long-deserved mornings of sleeping in and planning out their future retirement adventures.

When Leslie finally retired, they hit the road, never looking back. They crossed the country together visiting family and friends more than once. Jack even took off on a solo adventure on his motorcycle driving from Ridgecrest to his home town of Ponce De Leon, Fla., and back. Together, Jack and Leslie camped and fished at Rock Creek every chance they got. He was always up for an adventure, and he had the perfect partner to accompany him.

Jack wasn’t born in this valley, but he made this his forever home. He lived here by choice because he truly loved it here. He knew and explored this area and surrounding areas like this valley was his backyard playground, and he was a kid with free rein. He’d be happy to share all he knew about this beautiful desert, and he was always eager to learn more. Among other things, Jack was an avid outdoorsman.

At 70 he still fished, hunted, hiked and roamed the deserts and mountains in his Jeep. He was a member of more than one Jeep club, and he and Leslie spent many happy days and nights on excursions with their Jeep friends. If the weather were right, you’d find him either hiking the hills in search of a photo opportunity or snakes or just spending time swapping stories with his hiking buddies. Jack loved to swap stories. He was a good man and a great soldier, as well as a loving family man, father, grandfather and loyal friend.

And he was an excellent husband to his wife Leslie, nursing her through the most challenging of health issues, colon cancer. He was her hero for his never-failing compassion sweetened with his witty Southern charm and endless optimism. She would often say that he made her laugh in the most challenging times she could imagine. Without his support, love and confidence she could never have recovered as quickly as she did from her surgeries and treatments. At a drop of a hat, Jack’s nature was to help out friends, family and strangers alike, and he was always quick to share his wisdom- or joke-filled Jack-isms to help lighten anyone’s burden.

Being involved in his family was as important to him as any job he’d ever held. His wife, sons, grandkids, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles and friends from years past were still recipients of his sense of humor, solid advice, encouragement and love — just one of the many things that will be missed about Jack, “Uncle” Jack to so many. These days when not with his friend doing “grown-up things,” he was often in the company of several, if not all, of his grandchildren. They will forever benefit, as their fathers had, from his unselfish devotion to them all. He impishly instilled in them his love for the outdoors, with a heart for enthusiastic exploring even if it was just in Grandma’s and Grandpa’s own backyard or at Rock City, their special place.

He would lead them on many joyful lizard and horned toad hunts. He imparted to them his enthusiasm for living a full life, and the wonder of exploring the world. He gave that and so much more to his family, his old friends and new, his Navy buddies, his country and his community. He will be missed for these things and so much more.

Jack is survived by his brother and sister, as well as his sons Benjamin (Michelle) Brockwell and William Brockwell (Kadie Dunnaway) as well as grandchildren Benji, Tyler, William, Whitney, Joey, and Hunter. He is also survived by many family members and friends, too many to list but by name he knew them all. He was preceded in death by his father and mother. And with his beloved wife Leslie at his side, Jack left this world far too soon.

Services will be held Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. at Calvary Church followed by a short graveside service and return to the church for a celebration of life.

— Submitted by the loved ones of Jack Brown

Story First Published: 2018-04-27