Thomas R. Brown Jr. (92) passed away in his home on October 2, 2022. He was born January 3, 1930 in Arcadia Florida to the late Thomas Richard Brown Sr. and Mildred Viola Welles Brown. He hailed from early Florida pioneering families that were influential in establishing banking, orange grove operation, and cattle ranching in the region. Tom graduated from Bolles School in Jacksonville in 1947 and in 1952 earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architectural Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. After college Tom entered the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant during the Korean War where he served as Project Engineer for Corporal Missile Weapons System at White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico and continued in this capacity as a civilian after his service in the military was over.
In 1957 Tom joined Chrysler Corporation and helped start up its Missile Division. Over the next 11 years he was Staff Engineer, Program Engineer and Technical Director for the Redstone, Jupiter-C and Mercury Redstone missile systems in Detroit, and Operations Manager for those missile systems as well as Jupiter systems at Cape Canaveral. He subsequently directed the design and construction of launch facilities and ground servicing systems for the Saturn I Program for Chrysler.
Tom joined Planning Research Corporation (PRC) at Kennedy Space Center in 1977 and served as Vice President in its Aerospace Division. He managed PRC’s Engineering Services which designed the reconfiguration of Saturn Apollo ground systems to support the Space Shuttle.
In 1987 Tom joined General Dynamics as Director of a start-up operation at Port Canaveral that, specializing in space launch systems and facilities, converted Air Force Launch Complex 36 for use on Atlas and Atlas Centaur commercial launch vehicles.
Tom served as President of the Florida Chapter of the American Defense Preparedness Association, State Treasurer (New Mexico) of the Reserve Officers Association, Board of Trustees of the Florida Institute of Technology and Chairman of the Canaveral Chapter of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
As a leader in the Brevard community during the early 1960s, Tom helped to incorporate Indian Harbor Beach, Florida. He was active in organizing United Fund, serving as Campaign Chairman and Board member and was on the Board of Community Advisors in the start of the University of Central Florida. He served on the board of Trustees of Brevard Engineering College through its becoming the fully-accredited Florida Institute of Technology. Tom was an active member of Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church, serving several terms on the Council and in various leadership capacities over the years.
Tom met his wife Nancy on a blind date just before college. After 52 years of marriage, Nancy passed away in 2006. Together they raised three children, two daughters, Lori Schildwachter (Alan) and Linda O’Keefe (Daniel) and one son, Thomas Richard III who passed away from cystic fibrosis in 1982. Tom is blessed with six grandchildren, Evangelene, Daniel Thomas, Elizabeth, Coleen, Ryan, and Ross.
He is survived by his sister, Mary Virginia Schultz of Sarasota, Florida and many nieces and nephews around the country.
Memorial donations can be made to Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church.