Roland Merritt Brown, Sr., was born 2 November 1923 in Morristown, NJ, the first son of Ruth Matilda Steele Brown and Dewey (Arron) Brown, Sr. He died Sunday, 4 January 2004 at Watchung Ridge Assisted Living, Watchung, NJ. Mr. Brown, who grew up in Morristown and Newton, NJ, later lived in Monmouth County, NJ, retired to Palm Coast, FL, in 1981, and returned to New Jersey in 2000. Roland married Mary Lily Davis of Summit, NJ, in 1945, and from this union two children were born Roland Jr. and Gloria Jeanne.
Mr. Brown served as a professional engineer with the United States Army Electronic Command at Fort Monmouth, NJ for 30 years while advancing through upper levels of the organization during the major part of his professional career. He was a Tuskegee Airman and veteran of World War II serving as a Bombardier-Navigator in the 477th Bomber Group while achieving the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He retired from the Air Force Reserves with the rank of Major.
Mr. Brown was introduced to golf at a young age by his father, Dewey Brown Sr. (the first known African-American PGA member). Roland Brown Sr. became an avid amateur golfer winning many tournaments. He befriended and played with internationally known golfers such as Charlie Sifford, Teddy Rhodes and Lee Elder. Among the long list of courses he and his friends challenged was the picturesque Cedar River Golf Course (then owned by Dewey Brown Sr.) in Indian Lake, NY.
Predeceased by his loving wife, Mary Lily Davis Brown (1925-1999), his brother Dewey Leonard Brown, Jr. and his parents; Roland Brown Sr., leaves to mourn: uncle, Arthur David Brown Sr., Madison NJ; son, Roland Merritt Brown, Jr., Morristown, NJ; daughter, Gloria Jeanne Brown Simmons, Cambridge, MA; grandson, Roland Malakhi Simmons, Los Angeles, CA; brother Edward Howard Brown and sister-in-law Catherine Rosselli Brown, Newton, NJ; sister-in-law Barbara Sincox Brown, Sequim, WA; sister-in-law Julia Davis Dawson and brother-in-law Robert Edward Dawson Sr., Durham, NC, cousins, nieces, nephews and a large group of friends and professional associates.
A memorial service for friends and family to honor and remember Mr. Roland Merritt Brown, Sr., is being planned for late spring in Morristown, NJ. The family is requesting that charitable donations be made to the Tuskegee Airmen of Greater Philadelphia Area Scholarship Fund, Att: Henry Moore, 608 West Phil-Ellena Street, #2B, Philadelphia, PA 19119-3525; and Lafayette College, College Relations and Development Office, Easton, PA 18042.