Billy Joe Brown

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1937-2020

Billy Joe Brown was born in Huntingdon, on Feb. 19, 1937 and passed away on March 15, in Orlando, Fl. Billy was the youngest of eleven children born to Elbert Thomas and Fanny Mae Miles Brown. In order of birth, his siblings were Albert Louard, Richard Thomas, Mary Elizabeth, Dorthy May, Sarah Mildred, Freddie Alfred, Virginia Louise, Charles Edwin, Betty Sue, and David Earl. He is survived by his older sister Betty Brown Kirby from West Point, Miss.

He is also survived by his four children: Anna Katherine Hilting, Arthur Barrett (Dayna) Brown, Jason Kenneth (Bo) Brown and Nancy Ellen Darling. Grandpa Bill was loved by eight grandchildren: Catelin Bethany Brown, Cara Ilene (Perry) Johnson, Aubrey Elizabeth Brown, Luke Barrett Brown, Macy Lauren Brown, Brandy Nicole (Patrick) Piner, Bryan Alexander (Natalie) Doughman and Dennis Howisch Hilting; three great-grandsons whom he adored: Beckett Rylan Piner, Ezekiel Steele Johnson and Titus Matthew Johnson. He also leaves numerous nephews, nieces, and friends. 

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Billy grew up in Huntingdon and graduated from Huntingdon High School in 1955. Thanks to help from family and a scholarship from First Baptist Church of Huntingdon, he attended Union University in Jackson, and graduated with a degree in English. At Union, he met Sandra Nell Miller, whom he married in 1958. 

In high school he worked as a soda jerk at Priest’s Drug Store in Huntingdon. During and after college he worked as a DJ for two radio stations in Jackson and hosted a TV dance show. After a brief time studying at Vanderbilt, Billy took a job with the U.S. Civil Service Commission in 1962 and transitioned to the Internal Revenue Service in 1971. The family moved frequently as Billy advanced in his career. He progressed rapidly to become Director of Personnel of the IRS followed by Director of several districts. The family lived in Jackson, Nashville, Macon, Ga., Titusville, Fla., College Park, Md., St. Louis, Mo., Annandale, Va., and Cincinnati, Ohio. Billy’s career later took him to Philadelphia, Pa., Honolulu, Hawaii, and San Jose, Calif. After serving as the Tax Attaché for Southeast Asia in the U. S. Embassy in Singapore, Billy retired in 2002, finding his retirement home in The Villages, Fla. But his career didn’t end there. He accepted consulting positions in Australia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. He retired for the fourth time just after he turned 80 years old. 

When Billy wasn’t working, he was often traveling, sometimes solo and sometimes with his lifelong friends Paul and Joy Beene. He was an avid country music fan and attended concerts regularly. 

Billy loved spending time with family. He hosted many Brown family reunions and made sure to see his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as often as possible. During the last seventeen years he invested greatly in his family by attending countless sporting events, concerts, graduations and weddings. He was very proud of his entire family and was beloved by all. 

Billy lived a life full of gratitude and love. He always told everyone he was “doing better than he deserved.” His legacy to his family and friends was the example he set in acceptance, wisdom, generosity, kindness, and humor.

In light of the current pandemic, arrangements for a memorial service have been put on hold.  In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in his honor in one of two ways: Practice kindness and help your neighbor through these difficult times.

Billy was a proud supporter of Barrett and Dayna’s ministry with Cru. Gifts can be made at give.cru.org/0374749.

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