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To those who knew Bert Brown, of Browndale, don’t be sad to learn of his passing, because you’ll die one day, too. Instead, find comfort in knowing he didn’t suffer at the end and was surrounded by the family he cherished, with Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line” playing softly in the background, until his last breath.
To those who didn’t know Bert, you really missed out. Bert was the kind of guy everyone wanted to have as a friend. His 61 short years of life were filled with more fearlessness, honest hard work, unconditional love, Dad jokes and gratitude than most people could fulfill in 100 years.
Born in Carbondale on January 31, 1957, Bert grew up in Mayfield, the son of Lawrence and Marie Fortuner Brown, and the brother of Tom and Eddie Brown. He was a graduate of Lakeland High School Class of 1974, where he was on the wrestling team. His intrepid spirit was unstoppable and evident as he spent his teenage years street-racing with friends, performing waterskiing pyramids at Newton Lake, and even winning the Demolition Derby at the Wayne County Fair in 1986.
Bert worked hard his entire life and firmly believed people should take pride in any work they did. He spent more than a decade working for his grandfather’s company, Fortuner Moving & Storage, before spending 25 years as foreman at a wire distribution center at Power Telephone Supply Company, formerly Clifford of Vermont.
Bert worked hard so he could provide for his family and give them everything they wanted and needed — and then some. He recently celebrated his 42nd wedding anniversary with the love of his life, Brenda, who he met as a teenager at Newton Lake. Together, Bert and Brenda had four children: Ryan, Justin, Jenelle and Madison. They also had several grandchildren. Bert never missed a chance to tell someone how proud he was of his kids, such as when his son Ryan became project manager for a power line company; his son Justin moved to Los Angeles to intern for E! Entertainment and “Jimmy Kimmel Live;” his daughter Jenelle stayed home to help take care of him throughout his long battle with cancer and pulmonary fibrosis; and how his daughter Madison went to Scranton Prep and did so well in school. Even though he worked very hard, he never missed a baseball game, basketball game, school play or dance recital. Bert loved so unconditionally, that when the priest came to bless him shortly before his passing, he said, “Don’t pray for me. Pray for my family. I want them to be okay.”
Bert was also the king of Dad jokes. His sense of humor wasn’t always appreciated though, especially when he’d be in a department store with his family, hold up a bra to his chest, and yell to his kids, “Hey, how would this look on me?”
Though Bert’s time in this world was short, he had endless gratitude. His final words were “Thank you.”
There will be a private service for close friends and family. In lieu of sending flowers, Bert’s family asks that you perform an act of selflessness in his honor.
Arrangements by the Jones & Brennan Funeral Home, 430 Main Street, Forest City.