Francis P. Brown, 96, of Shrewsbury


Francis “Frank” P. Brown

Feb. 10, 1918 – June 15, 2014

New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Vero Beach, Fla.

The Willows, Westborough

Southgate, Shrewsbury


Shrewsbury – Frank Brown spent his early childhood on the Durkee Estate in Patchogue, N.Y., where his mother, Mary Veronica Shannon Brown, was the household maid and his father, James Brown, was the chauffeur and master mechanic. His childhood adventures on the Durkee Estate were formative in his becoming the man who would be bold enough to risk starting his own advertising business in New York City while raising four young children. He became CEO and President of Progressive Sales Co. There was also something about living in that healthy environment that may have given him what was needed to survive to age 96 in spite of losing a kidney at age 19.

Then there were the years he spent living in Elmhurst, N.Y. which contributed to his ?ghting spirit. Years of making his way as a skinny, short Irish boy through the various rival ethnic neighborhoods that surrounded his Irish neighborhood gave him the courage to stand up for himself in ways that involved more than just words, he ultimately spent a number of years as a semi-pro boxer. This experience also was the source of ever more creative stories of his adventures in boxing.

He was a man who worked tirelessly at two jobs to support his family, and still managed to ?nd time to coach his boys in Little League baseball for a number of years. He was devoted to his beloved wife, Betty, until her death after 64 years of marriage. He was so proud of her and even just a couple of weeks ago told one of his caregivers that Betty was not only beautiful, but very smart. He may have worked hard to make his business a success but he never failed to recognize that success was due to her wise ?nancial management while he handled the creative side.

He is survived by nine great-grandchildren; 11 grandchildren and their spouses; and his four children and their spouses, Pat and Rick Goodell of Portland, Or., Dave and Helen Brown of Westborough, Chris and Mary Kay Brown of Wilbraham, and Joanne and Ninad Samant of Shrewsbury. He is also survived by his wife's beloved sister, Claire Vartain of Vero Beach, Fla., as well as many nieces and nephews. We could all write a book of “Dad, Grandpa, Frank” stories and will miss him very much.

The family would also like to extend sincere appreciation to the staff at Southgate Assisted Living in Shrewsbury, who Frank considered his friends for the last five years. There are too many to be named, but the family is grateful to each of them for their loving care. More recently, his personal caregivers who were there for him when family couldn's be were Felister and Ester. They were gifted in their patience, loving care and generosity of spirit – Frank may not have always remembered their names, but he was always happy to see them and the family is so thankful to them as well.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, June 29, at 11:30 a.m., at the?First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury Center, 19 Church Rd.