Charles D Brown

Born December 10, 1911

Charles Daniel Brown, a journalist and local political activist, died early Saturday morning, March 22, 2014, at his home in Fairfax, VA. He was 102.

Charles was born on 10 December 1911 in Kansas City, MO. His father, D. Arthur Brown, was a Baptist Minister and President of the Charles E. Brown Printing Company in Kansas City. Charles studied journalism at the University of Missouri and at the University of Kansas, where he was editor of The Daily Kansan.

In 1936, while working as a reporter for small newspapers in Iowa, Charles married his wife of 78 years, the former Frances Cecelia Wunderlich. The newly-weds subsequently worked together on the staff of The Daily Bulletin in Martinsville, VA. Between 1940 and 1942, Charles and Frances owned and operated The Hayes County Herald in San Marcos, TX.

In 1942, Charles enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was inducted into service at Randolph Field in Texas. During December 1945, he was honorably discharged from active service in Washington, DC. After the war, he received a reserve commission as a public affairs officer. In 1961, Lt. Colonel Charles D. Brown was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

On discharge from the Army Air Corps, Charles joined Trans-Radio Press in Washington, DC. At Trans-Radio he prepared wire news reports for radio broadcast. Later he joined NBC Washington as news editor and special events writer, covering the Pearl Harbor hearings and national railroad strike. In late 1947, Charles was hired to work in the radio and television division of the Veterans Administration (VA). At the VA, he wrote and produced a radio show called “The Veteran Wants to Know.”

In 1950, Charles accepted political appointment as the Confidential Assistant to the Assistant Postmaster General for Transportation. In this capacity, he became involved in trucking and the new transportation challenges faced by the mail service. In 1953, he used his familiarity with transportation issues to secure a position with the Regular Common Carrier Conference (RCCC), American Trucking Association. Until his retirement in 1976, he worked as a writer and special assistant to the Executive Director of the RCCC.

Charles Brown was the founder of the Transportation Table, a weekly forum for current transportation issues meeting at the National Press Club with journalists and newsmakers in the transportation field. Additionally, he was a passionate advocate of Value Engineering legislation at the town, county, and state levels. A long and active member of the McLean (VA) Citizens Association, Charles served on the board of directors and on the transportation committee. Due in large measure to his efforts, the case for Value Engineering was successfully carried by the Virginia General Assembly in 1990 and by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 1997. Enabling legislation brought Value Engineering practices to the Virginia Department of General Services in 1998 and to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). For his persistent support of Value Engineering, Charles was recognized by the McLean Citizens Association in 1997 with its Bulldog Award.

In later years, Charles took great pleasure in the artistic talents of his wife, Frances, through her work with the printmakers at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA. Charles and Frances also enjoyed travelling together to Peru, Mexico, Poland, and China.

A more detailed telling of Charles and Frances Brown’s life together can be found online at In addition to his wife Frances, survivors include his daughter, Gay B. Phillips-Davis of Granville, OH; his son, Daniel Wilson Brown of Pittsford, VT; his three grandsons, Mark S. Phillips, Jr., Matthew E. Phillips, and Adrian D. Brown; his four great-granddaughters, Megan D. Phillips, Grace C. Phillips, Lacey N. Phillips, and Kylee H. Phillips; and his great-grandson, Mark S. Phillips, III.

Charles D. Brown will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date which will be posted on the website noted above.


  • Inurnment Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Charles D Brown

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Macalee Hime

April 10, 2014

I enjoyed comparing notes with Charlie about Lyndon Johnson, one of his favorite politicians. He will be missed at The Virginian. My deepest sympathy to Frances.