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Jodie Brown

Born on 9-18-1887. He was born in Greenville, Texas. He later died on 6-11-1985.
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Mr. Jodie, as called by most of the townspeople, Brother Brown by the church folk, Brown by the men folk, Grandpa by his grandchildren, and Daddy by his children and wife Nancy. Violet Morkin gave birth to Jodie Clarence Brown on September 18, 1887 in Greenville, Texas, where he resided with his mother and stepfather, Robert Belford. He had one brother, Hertt, who he often talked about. Jodie married and from the union a daughter, Mary and a son, Forrest was born. This first marriage ended and Jodie relocated to Tipton, Oklahoma around 1927, where he began to work in the cotton fields. He met and married Nancy Ann Francis Lewis-Rowan on March 11, 1928. He and Nancy moved to Altus, Oklahoma and began raising their family in a two room house on Willard Street. Later, they moved to their permanent dwelling at 603 South Crain Street. They raised six children, Nathaniel, Rosezene, Thelma, Lorene, Isabel, Jolly and two grandchildren, Judy and Nadine. After nearly 50 years of marriage, Nancy passed on March 4, 1978.

Jodie had no formal education and worked on farms and in the cotton fields until the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was formed by the government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to combat the devastation of the depression. His labor contributed to the construction of roads, railroads and buildings in the southwest Oklahoma area. He became a remarkable farmer. His garden and orchard produced fresh vegetables such as turnip and mustard greens, okra, tomatoes, green beans, onions, peaches, apples, pears, watermelon, and cantaloupe. He was a skilled hunter of rabbit and squirrels. He was an expert fisherman. This natural food provided the best for his family and was shared with his neighbors and sold throughout the Altus community.

Jodie Brown's philosophy in life was simple. Love everybody! Treat everybody right! That simple philosophy is what made living grand for him and everyone around him. When you were in his presence you felt as if you and he were the only ones in the world. He taught, guided, protected and encouraged his family with love, patience and kindness with such fervor that he rarely had to repeat himself. He lived with a purpose and took pride in his family, sowing seeds to build strong characters. Amazingly, he managed to have very special bonds with each of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. His belief in the God he served provided an undeniable source of strength. He was always in Sunday School, Church services, Baptist Training Union (BTU), and prayer meeting with his family. You would find him on his knees beside his bed every morning before he started his day and every night before he laid down to rest. At the top of his prayer list was for his family to strive to be good, honest men and women.

He was a faithful member of the Macedonia Baptist Church in Altus for over 50 years and devoted his service as a member of the Brotherhood Society being a mentor, role model and positive pillar for the community. He relied on his children and grandchildren to tell him what words he read from his New Testament Bible that he kept on the mantel near his big easy chair. Often, he had it upside down but had a thirst and desire to know how to read. He had an excellent memory and would not forget the words.

The world was changing as he found himself supporting the need for his oldest granddaughters, Laura and Nadine to be a part of the NAACP's march and protest with a sit in at the Altus Bus Station during the Civil Rights Movement. Attempts were made to lock the doors to keep them from buying a soda and a bag of potato chips. He stood for their safety and saw them prevail. He supported his granddaughter, Judy, when segregation forced her to move from Lincoln Elementary and High School (community all black school) where teaching was truly a passion for the teachers and the students shared not only text book learning but a communal unity that would bind them for life. The change was difficult but they all had been taught to hold their heads high. He supported his grandson, DePorter and all of his grandchildren as they entered elementary schools to face a world that looked at him different and judged them without cause. Their grandfatherâ??s constant reminder to them, with unshakable confidence, was that they were as good as anybody and they believed him.

Often he would tell stories to his children and grandchildren about his childhood experiences such as when he had watered Jessie and Frank James' horses and how they taught him how to twirl a gun during their travels through Texas. Their attention was always enticed with his bag of orange slices, peppermints and hoe hound candies. They enjoyed him playing his favorite tunes on the piano.

He was successful in developing relationships with the white cotton farmers in negotiating the pulling and picking of their fields. He would not accept less than what was fair and set standards for many to follow. He became respected and admired for his commitments.

His leisure was Saturday night boxing on the black and white television. He intensely and silently watched Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, and Joe Louis throw punch after punch, round after round as his wife, Nancy sat nearby, content with his enjoyment and twitched with every blow, finding herself exhausted and sore at the end of the match. He would also listen to the Amos and Andy show on the radio as well as Fibber McGee and Molly. Saturday nights also was for preparing for church. Shoes were spit shined and buffed with supplies from the wooden shoe shine box. White shirts and handkerchiefs were starched, suits and dresses ironed. Often a delightful aroma of a made from scratch vanilla cake or sweet potato pie would fill the entire house.

During the early seasons of 1985, Jodie Clarence Brown began to have conversations with his Creator requesting permission to complete his journey. He called for his daughter, Thelma who at the time resided in Long Beach, California to come to Altus to care for him. After refusing nourishment for three days on June 11, 1985, he completed his journey. Jodie Clarence Brown's legacy continues through his four living children, 26 living grandchildren, 88 living great-grandchildren, and 116 living great-great grandchildren. The elders are well respected and continue to teach , lead and guide his descendants.

Submitted by Judy Vann, granddaughter of Jodie Clarence Brown