Earl Brown, 83, of Portage, died on Thursday, July 12, 2012, in Kalamazoo with his family at his side. He was born on April 24, 1929, in Kings Mountain, Ky., to Amos and Dora (Floyd) Brown as one of seven children and raised in Bluefield, W.Va., until the age of 14 when his family moved to Kalamazoo. Upon completion of his schooling in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, Earl served in the US Army from 1946 through 1949 as a photographer at the Japanese War Crime Trials in Tokyo, Japan. After his honorable discharge from the Army, Earl returned to Kalamazoo and began a career with The Upjohn Company which lasted for 40 years until his retirement in 1989.
While working at The Upjohn Company Earl met and married Mary Ann (Vargo) Brown and they would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on July 26, 2012. Earl and Mary Ann had five children. Earl was a devoted father and grandfather, and enjoyed attending his children and grandchildren’s events, the outdoors, visiting northern Michigan, hunting, fishing and traveling winding back roads throughout the state. For over 30 years, Earl served as a volunteer police officer with the Portage Police Department Reserve Unit.
Surviving Earl are his wife, Mary Ann; sons, Jay (Gay Lou) Brown of Vicksburg, Patrick (Nancy) Brown of Marcellus, Paul Brown of Schoolcraft; daughter, Madalyn (Al) Colvin of Portage. Earl is also survived by grandchildren, Ryan (Lisa), Randy, Hunter, Maxine, Alexis, Rachel and Jacob Brown, Beth Colvin; great-granddaughters, Ava and Macey Brown; daughter-in-law, Kathy Descheneau; brother, Eric Brown; many nieces and nephews.
Earl was preceded in death by his parents; his parents-in-law (Michael and Helen Vargo); his siblings (Gladys Reiter, Edyth Parker, Geneva VanderWeele, Judy Brown, Glen Brown, Frank (Ted) Brown); son, Matthew Brown; great-granddaughter, Hailey Brown. Burial will be at Fort Custer National Cemetery with military honors on Thursday, July 19. The family invites anyone who wishes to attend to gather at Ft. Custer for the service which will begin at 1 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to The Cardiac Unit, Bronson Health Foundation, Box C, 301 John Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Envelopes will be available on Thursday at the service. Share a memory or sign the guest book at www.avinkcremation.com.
Arrangements by Avink Funeral Home Cremation Society, Schoolcraft.