December 15, 1921 – April 8, 2021
Joseph E. Brown, 99, of Sudbury, died April 8, 2021, of natural causes after a short illness. Survived by his wife of 76 years, Ruth M. Brown, and five children - Amy Sue Damon of Williamson NY; Timothy Brown of Sudbury, MA; Peter Brown and partner Jeannette Sawyer of Fresno, CA; Peggy Brown and wife Deborah Roussell of Maynard, MA; and Sheree Brown of Northampton, MA. Also survived by four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Born at Camp Dix, NJ in 1921 to Arthur Brown of Waterloo, NY and Margaret Schmitz of Andernach, Germany, he grew up in Lyons, NY. He attended Quoddy Vocational Institute in ME and completed courses in aircraft and engine maintenance. Joe then worked with Bell Aircraft in Buffalo, NY as a supervisor of flight test instrumentation. He was crew chief of the XP-59A airplane, the first American jet-propelled aircraft, during the flight test program in CA in 1942. He served with the US Navy in the V12 program and as a radarman in the Amphibious Corps in Little Creek, VA from 1944 to 1945.
Joe was a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo and taught Industrial Education at Geneva, NY High School for 3 years. He then worked at General Electric in Ithaca, NY as Supervisor of Employee and Plant Community Relations. He earned his MS in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. Joe later settled in Sudbury with his family, working at Raytheon for 29 years until retiring in 1988.
He was a self-taught clockmaker, certified by the American Watchmakers Institute, as well as a Willard Clock Museum conservator, a Charles River Museum of Industry trustee, a silver star Fellow of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, and a past president of Chapter 8 of NAWCC and of the Greater Boston Watch and Clock Collectors. Joe restored and repaired 18th and 19th century clocks and watches in his Sudbury shop from 1988 to 2008.
Joe was a founding member and Colonel in the formative years of Sudbury Companies of Minute and Militia and was an integral organizer of the 1995 reenactment of Benedict Arnold’s 1775 expedition to Quebec. He was also a founding member and first Chairman of Sudbury Historical Commission and of the Sudbury Rotary. Other interests and affiliations were Boy Scouts of America, Jet Pioneers Association of America, Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, and the Sudbury Industrial Development Commission. He also created and mentored the educational FM radio station WYAJ at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.
Private burial services will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Memorial Congregational Church in Sudbury or the Sudbury Historical Society.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
April 17, 2021
I am truly honored to have known Mr. Brown and have him as one of my most influential mentors and role models starting in my early teens. I knew Mr. Brown from my involvement with the Sudbury Ancient Fife and Drum, a sister organization to the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute (SCMM), an organization he helped create. Through that connection, I did yard work which then progressed to an apprenticeship repairing clocks. Mr. Brown was always the patient teacher where the experience was not only clock repair, but an introduction to the use of a variety of unique tools, respect for the objects being worked and their makers, quality of the repair, good work habits, and developing good relationships. I will always remember the shop being filled with the sound of Jazz, the smoke and warmth of the woodstove, and ticking of clocks with the hourly cacophony of bells and chimes striking the hour.
He always had the best stories from his time as a crew chief on the XP-59A, his antics while in the Navy, experiences from teaching and at Raytheon, experiences from forming the SCMM, and just life in general. He was always a man of service and leadership through his involvement in many organizations within and beyond Sudbury. Always the mentor and teacher, Mr. Brown had stressed to me and others that education was the path to a better life. I followed that advice and through his encouragement and my experiences within the clock shop, I became a Mechanical Engineer.
Both Mr. Brown and Mrs. Brown have been the kindest folks that one could ever know. Though I was working either at the house or in the basement shop, it was never a chore - I always looked forward to my time there.
Mr. Brown was the best mentor and role mode this 15-year-old to adult version of me could ever have. I can only hope to have half the influence on others as he had on me. I honestly do not think I would be the person I am now without Mr. Brown lending a gentle and patient hand.
Tod and Laura Woolf
April 16, 2021
We are sorry for your loss to you Mrs. Brown and your family. Mr. Brown was such a wonderful man, always with a kind word to say in the neighborhood. He was a pillor of Sudbury and served our country, and will be missed by so many. May his memory be a blessing.
April 12, 2021
Apart from my father's "favorite sweater photos", he could often be enticed into a smile once in a while, sweater or not. He had his own unique style and wore it consistently and well.
Miss you, Dad. You were my mentor in life, in things, in values, in skills, and all else. You showed me the way forward and always encouraged me to do the best possible, no matter the outcome.
April 11, 2021
I don't know you I'm so sorry to hear about your husband passing he is now resting in peace may god be with you and your family you are all in my prays always remember the good times you had with him
April 11, 2021
I was very fortunate to have been in the company of Joseph and Ruth Brown.
It was in the early 2000s i moved to Massachusetts from New York to join family. My search for a second career brought me to Joe's clock shop. I attended a weekly private clock repair lesson. I was amazed at Joe's patients, focused interest and teaching style. After several months the lessons were completed but the relationship went on for years. I would often visit and the three of us would share Joe's favorite cookies at the kitchen table. Thanks to Joe my life in Massachusetts has been in beat.😊