Obituary of Austin Thomas Brown
Austin Thomas Brown, 86, of Happy Valley, Oregon, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family. He was born in South Carolina, one of six children of Anderson and Arnetta Brown. As a young man, he attended Ebenezer United Methodist Church on Capitol Hill.
Austin attended Phelps Vocational High School, where he was a class officer as well as a member of the Junior Red Cross and Honor Society. He ran track and competed at the Penn Relays with his team. It was during his high school career that he and his brother, Rowland, would take crates of records and DJ house parties. During his senior year, he also contributed to compiling and publishing the school’s first yearbook as a member of the Publications Committee. After graduating high school in 1950, he matriculated to University of Denver, where he met and married Johnnie Ann Hall.
Johnnie and Austin had four children, Michael, Jan (Scott), Lyn and Allan, as well as two grandchildren in later years. The young family settled in Takoma Park, Maryland where they attended services at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. During this time, Austin was also a member of the Council on Ministries.
Austin served his country in the Air Force for four years and remained in service to his country for many years afterward; he became a civilian instructor at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado and he developed and wrote training manuals for the Department of Defense. He later transferred those skills into a prolific career as a technical writer, which eventually granted him the honor of serving as President for the Society for Technical Communication from 1988-1989.
Over the years, Austin’s career spanned various disciplines in media and communication; from radio and broadcast production, to owning a printing shop, to publishing articles in outlets from his college newspaper to the Washington Post. He retired to Hawaii.
Austin was a very meticulous, practical, orderly person. He encouraged his children to be independent thinkers and to have interests that would amount to something positive. He loved togetherness and visiting with family. He loved warm weather, good soul and jazz music, and deadpan humor.
Austin’s sons Michael and Allan, as well as his sister Gloria and brother Sterling, preceded him in death. Survivors include sister Felisha Watkins, brothers Rowland Brown (Grace) and Anderson Brown, daughters Renita Brown-Anderson and Lyn Brown, granddaughters Teena (Phil) and Nena, daughter-in-law Marissa Brown, and a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins including James Fisher, Ramona Green, William "Billy" Watkins, JoAnne Myers, Patricia Williams, Douglas Harris, and other friends and loved ones.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the STC Baltimore Chapter. Payment can be made to “Austin T. Brown Memorial Award Donation” at 34 N Irving Street, Arlington, VA 22201 – Attn: Annette Reilly (STC-WDCB Treasurer).