QMCM Wilbur James Brown II, USN (Ret.)

QMCM Wilbur James “Jim” Brown, II, USN (Ret.) passed away at home surrounded by his family on Friday, September 2, 2022. Jim was born in Washington, D.C. on March 7, 1938, to Wilbur (Bill) James Brown, I and Dorothy Louise (Fletcher) Brown. Jim was one of the first infants to survive a condition called erythroblastosis fetalis because he received an experimental treatment immediately after birth. He liked to say that since he was supposed to die as soon as he was born, every single day of his life was a “bonus”.

Jim attended St. Gabriel’s School and graduated from Archbishop John Carroll High School, 1956, in D.C. and remained in touch with alumni from both schools his entire life. In 1959, Jim married Donna Jane Smith, his high school sweetheart with whom he celebrated 63 years of marriage.

In 1956, Jim embarked on a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Navy where he crossed the globe many times. His duty stations include serving on submarines, the Chief of Naval Operations War Room at the Pentagon, and various cruisers, and finally on aircraft carriers as the Bosun and retired as Master Chief Quartermaster. Jim was direct support during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Jim was Plank Owner on several ships; USS Oxford, USS Nitro, and The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, CVN 69. Jim was YP Division Officer at the United States Naval Academy. One highlight was escorting First Lady Mamie Eisenhower during the ship’s commissioning ceremonies. While in the Navy, somehow, he played basketball, as well as playing, coaching, and umping softball.

After 22 years in the Navy, Jim retired and moved his family to St. Mary’s County in 1979 where he was a Navigation Instructor at Harry Lundberg School of Seamanship for 17 years. Jim was an active and energetic volunteer in the county and in the Catholic community. He coached the girls’ basketball team at Little Flower School for 10 years, leading the team to win many games and championships. He was a mentor and friend to his players and would tell a story about each one of them. Jim also enjoyed working at the St. Mary’s County Fair and Oyster Festival and at all Church dinners, breakfasts, and events at Holy Face and then at Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was active in The Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree. He will be sorely missed by his many friends for his wisecracks, quick wit, and deep kindness.

Jim was a devoted and deeply loving husband to his wife, Donna Jane. He was a truly extraordinary and caring father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He loved to play games, crack jokes, and share his outrageous, mostly true, “sea stories” with them.

Those of us who survive him will feel the loss of his presence every day, even as we know how lucky we are that he was with us for so long. Left to honor his legacy are his wife Donna; his daughters Caren (Joy) Brown,  Susan (Michael) Bassford, and Colleen (Gregory) Corliss; his grandchildren Paris (Beau) Rushing, Corwyn Tutor, Katelyn, Reagan, and Zachary Corliss, and Brian Swantkowski-Brown; and great-grandchildren Ava, Jaxson, Rylee, and KC James, expected to join our family in October.

Jim is predeceased by his parents, Bill and Louise Brown, his sister Peggy Louise Bisch, and many cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Family will receive friends for Jim’s Life Celebration on Friday, September 9, 2022 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., with a prayer service at 6:00 p.m., at Brinsfield Funeral Home, 22955 Hollywood Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Reverend Marco Schad on Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 12:00 p.m., at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 22375 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park, MD 20653. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.

Serving as pallbearers are Gregory Corliss, Kirby Powell, Glen Powell, Kyle Fleischmann, Andrew Fleischmann, and Beau Rushing. Honorary pallbearers are LCDR Jerome Flammger, USN, (Ret), Corwyn Tutor, Zachary Corliss, Brian Swantkowski-Brown, and Michael Bassford, Sr.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of St. Mary’s, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650 and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 22375 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park, MD 20653.

Condolences may be made to the family at www.brinsfieldfuneral.com.

Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A.

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