Martin Shallenberger Brown, Sr.

May 27, 1938August 11, 2019

Martin Shallenberger Brown, age 81, died August 11, 2019, following a three-year battle with cancer. Born May 27, 1938 in Louisville Kentucky, he was the second of four children of Sara “Sally” Shallenberger Brown, an ardent conservationist, and W. L. Lyons Brown, chairman of Brown-Forman Corporation. After attending Louisville public schools and Culver Military Academy in Indiana, Martin graduated in 1960 from the University of Virginia. In 1962, he received an M.B.A. from Columbia University in New York City and married Elizabeth “Betty“ Moorhead, a family friend since childhood. Following their wedding, the Browns moved near Lynchburg, Tennessee, where Martin worked at the Jack Daniel Distillery. The Browns subsequently left Tennessee for two years when Martin served in the US Army as a commissioned officer. Upon their return, the Browns settled in Nashville, where Martin joined the Jack Daniel’s sales office and lived for the rest of his life. Martin Brown was deeply proud to be a part of Jack Daniel’s growth and served in various roles at the company before retiring in 1986 when he was Chairman and CEO. As a second career, he became Chairman of Therapeutic Antibodies Inc., a British biotechnology company with a Nashville office. He led that company from its formative years through its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in 1996. He was consistently interested in entrepreneurial opportunities in Tennessee and served on the boards of diverse businesses such as Aegis Sciences Corporation (a laboratory testing company) and Micro Craft Inc. (an aerospace engineering firm) years after serving as a director of the Nashville Bank and Trust Company. Martin also was committed to serving the broader community. He was an officer or board member of numerous local and national organizations, including the Land Trust for Tennessee, Southern Environmental Law Center, Nashvillle Chamber of Commerce, Fisk University, Montgomery Bell Academy, Harpeth Hall School, Cheekwood, National Parks Conservation Association, Tennessee chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and Nashville Community Bail Fund. He was a persuasive fundraiser for many of these organizations in addition to being an enthusiastic financial supporter. In his free time, he loved being in nature, fishing, and riding horses. As the longest member of the Nashville Polo Club, he traveled and played with generations of players. He was a member of the Coffee House Club. Throughout his life, he traveled to Delray Beach, Florida during winters and north of Lake of the Woods in Ontario during summers. Martin’s hallmark traits were to be an eternal optimist and always look for the best in people that he encountered. He was the epitome of a southern gentleman. As a parent and grandfather, he took great pleasure in his role as a teacher. One of his specialties was backgammon. He lost only occasionally, and those moments were celebrated in honor of both of the victor and the teacher. He was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Betty Brown, his parents, his brother Owsley, his parents-in-law Sue and Rodman Moorhead, and his sister-in-law Sue Smythe. He is survived by his four children: Martin, Eliza, Nina and Susannah and their spouses Cathy, Hal, Casper and Zulu; his nine grandchildren: Sara, Louis, Anna, Lucas, Willem, Martin, Josephine, Willow and Max; his sister, Ina Bond, and his brother, Lee Brown; and his wife Margaret (Peggy), whom he married in 2018. The funeral service will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee at 11:00 am on Thursday, August 15 , 2019, with visitation preceding the service at 9:30 am at the church. His internment will take place at a later date with family present. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Land Trust for Tennessee or the Southern Environmental Law Center.



  • Visitation

    Thursday, August 15, 2019

  • Funeral

    Thursday, August 15, 2019


  • Internment will take place at a later date with family present. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Land Trust for Tennessee or the Southern Environmental Law Center.


Martin Shallenberger Brown, Sr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Dee Patel

August 22, 2019

The Hermitage Hotel expressed its most sincere condolences, along with admiration and respect for a fine man and his life.

A donation of $250 is being made to the Land Trust for Tennessee in honor of Martin.

Barbara Faulkner

August 15, 2019

Working as an employee at Jack Daniel's Distillery, there were many occasions that I crossed paths with Martin Brown. He was unique in that if he met you once, he could call you by name the next time he saw you, regardless of your position.

I had nothing but respect for him, and so sorry to hear of his passing.

Vivian Toney

August 14, 2019

Mr. Brown will always hold a special place in my heart. He was kind and generous to me when I worked for him years ago taking care of Mrs. Betty Brown. I was fortunate to work for such a wonderful person.
His family will be in my thoughts and prayers. May you find comfort in knowing he touched so many lives. ♥️

Rufus Friday

August 14, 2019

Ina, I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. I am praying for you and your family, knowing that GOD will provide you comfort and happy thoughts and memories of your brother. GOD bless... Rufus Friday (Ali Center Board Member)


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