James "Jim" Brown
Jim born in Watertown, Wisconsin on 9-20-29 to Lawrence and Josephine. He was an only child and attended Watertown High School. In his childhood, Jim was an altar boy and did 7:00am masses at the Old Folks Home. He did not like the early masses. While in high school, Jim tried out for football but didn’t make the team. He started working for a dry cleaner in which his duties included cleaning out pant cuffs and making deliveries. There he met lifelong friend Delores Hoffman. A couple of Jim’s best friends that he got into mischief with were Dave Janski, Bob Heinz and Bob Jense.
After high school, Jim drove Taxi until he joined the US Navy in November 1947 for a three-year commitment. He often commented he got an extra year because of President Truman and the start of the Korean War. In the Navy, he was stationed on the Coral Sea one of the three us aircraft carries at the time. The other two carriers were the Roosevelt and Midway.
After his service, Jim moved to Madison. He attended the University of Wisconsin on the GI Bill. His drinking buddy was Romie. One of our favorite stories was Jim and Romie driving their car around a baseball diamond. Somehow, they never got caught. Romie unfortunately flunked out. While in college Jim was a Maytag repairman. In his last year of college, he met his wife of 62 years Shirley Patt. Jim lived in an apartment building with a couple of guys on the third floor next to where Shirley lived. They could look down into the girl’s kitchen. Eventually they brought over some beer and asked the girls if they wanted to watch some boxing on TV. Jim asked Shirley out but she didn’t know if she should go? Her roommate JoAnn like Jim. Fortunately, Shirley accepted and they went to see a boxing match. This started a one-year romance before they were married. Jim popped the engagement proposal in just six months.
Jim and Shirley were married in Shirley’s home town Marshfield, Wisconsin in June 1956 at Our Lady of Peace. For their honeymoon, they went to Milwaukee. The honeymoon was two parts: the first part everyone can imagine, and the second part was job hunting. One of his interviews was with Warren Rose. Warren worked for Univac in St. Paul and offered Jim a job. The position started in July and they moved to St. Paul where they lived in an apartment on Ford Parkway. A funny story: Jim’s new boss Warren invited Jim and Shirley for Thanksgiving dinner. Shirley was pregnant with their first child and they were serving duck. During dinner, Shirley went into labor and had to go to the hospital to give birth to Katheryn Annette on 11/30/57. Shirley was never fond of duck after that.
When expecting their second child, they moved to an apartment on St. Clair St. where they met Sally and Wally Simpson, who also turned into lifelong friends. They had their second child, Karen Marie on 2/4/59. At this time, they needed more space and had a home built on the eastside of St. Paul. They moved into 2225 Berland Place just after the arrival of their third child, Steven James on 9/21/61. Their fourth child, Robert Lawrence arrived on 12/9/63. Their fifth and final child, Mary Lynn arrived on 6/15/66 and the doctor declared that they had a Full House.
Jim enjoyed many hobbies that included golf, Bridge, woodworking, boating, fishing, traveling and spending time with his 8 grandchildren. He worked at Sperry/Univac until 1989 when he retired. Jim and Shirley liked to travel in their retirement, especially spending their winters in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Obituary as printed in Pioneer Press 9/23/2018
Passed away on September 1, 2018 at the age of 88 years. Preceded in death by his parents. Survived by wife of 62 years, Shirley; children Kathryn Brown-Richardson (Jeff), Karen Glasky (Kevin), Steven, Robert (Lynn) and Mary Brown-Bennett (Steve); grandchildren Danielle, Christopher, Ryan, Holly , Jason, Brady, Kaylee & Jessica along with other relatives & friends. Jim was proud of serving 4 years in the Navy. Memorial Mass Friday, September 28th, 10:00 am at CHURCH OF ST. PASCAL BAYLON, 1757 Conway Street with visitation one hour before the service. Interment Fort Snelling National Cemetery.