Biographies

Brother John J. Brown, MM

Born: January 15, 1922
Oath: September 29, 1941
Died: April 16, 2005

Brother John Brown died on April 16, 2005 at St. Teresa’s Residence, Maryknoll, New York. He was 83 years old and a Maryknoll Brother for 63 years.

John Joseph Brown was born January 15, 1922 in Hartford, Connecticut. He was raised by his foster parents, John J. and Nondas Willoughby Brown, and had one brother, Anthony. Because his Dad was a Navy Officer, the family moved approximately every three years. He came into contact with Maryknoll through attending kindergarten at the Maryknoll School in Hawaii and Camp Venard, Pennsylvania, a summer camp run by Maryknoll. He also attended Mt. St. Michaels School, Bronx, New York.

His father had command of a Navy transport ship, the U.S.S. Henderson, the last transport ship to leave the Orient before the Second World War. While in the Orient the Henderson used to put into ports in the Philippines, Shanghai and Hong Kong. When he was in Hong Kong, he used to visit some of our men at the Stanley House. When the family was living at the Navy base in Portsmouth, NH, his father took him to the Bedford Novitiate where he met Father Thomas Malone. There he also met Father James McDermott, who worked with him in discerning his vocation and eventually drove him to Maryknoll, NY, in August of 1939 to begin his commitment to mission.

His Novitiate was made on the property at Maryknoll in a house where the Price Building is now located. He remembered Fathers Frederick Killoran, John McConnell and George Daly particularly as men who influenced his formation. On September 29, 1941 he took his First Oath of Obedience, taking the religious name, David. He was then assigned to Maryknoll, NY where he served until his Perpetual Oath in 1947 and his assignment to the Junior Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts. In 1949, he was assigned to Maryknoll’s St. Francis Xavier Mission in Los Angeles, California, where he served for five years as the bus driver for the Japanese children in the Mission School. He also worked with Boy Scout Troop 145 and Explorer Scout Post 145X.

In 1952 he was assigned to the Novitiate in Bedford, MA and then to Lakewood, NJ in 1955. On his return to Maryknoll Center in New York in 1969, Brother John became a member of the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps. In 1974 he was assigned to Maryknoll Residence in Los Altos, California, where he remained until he received his overseas assignment to Maryknoll’s Mission Unit in Western Samoa in September 1981. While in Samoa he worked with the Western Samoa Red Cross, teaching First Aid and holding a high programmatic position with the organization. In October 1988 Brother John was again transferred to the Maryknoll Residence at Los Altos, California, and was officially retired in January 2002. Brother remained at Los Altos until April 2004, when he came to Mission St. Teresa.

Brother John always had a strong commitment to the Society and the Oath he took to serve. He enjoyed the camaraderie he experienced and to which he was a contributor. He attributed his vocation to his upbringing and the formation that he received in his family from an early age.

Wake services were held at 4:30 p.m. on April 21, 2005 at St. Teresa’s, with Father Paul Belliveau officiating, and at 7:30 p.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Center where Brother Kevin Dargan officiated and Brother Donald Miriani read the biography. Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated in Queen of Apostles Chapel on April 22, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. Father John (Jack) King was Principal Celebrant and homilist. Burial followed in Maryknoll Society Cemetery with Father John McAuley conducting the graveside service.