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He kept abreast of current events

PENNFIELD - Well-known lighthouse keeper, wharf agent and air force veteran Raye Brown of Pennfield is being remembered as a "go-getter" who packed a lot of living into his nearly 92 years on this old sod.

"Dad was a great talker, outgoing, and loved to tell stories," Rebecca Anthony, the eldest of his two daughters, said following the funeral of the avid sportsman, outdoorsman and family man last week.

"He was interested in politics, a supporter of all health care, and he liked to know what was going on," she added. "And he liked to get into discussions about it."

Active in Liberal politics, he once offered his name unsuccessfully for the party's provincial nomination.

Brown, who died on Nov. 17, didn't just like to know what was going on. Often, he was part of it.

He was a life member of Branch No. 39 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Blacks Harbour, and district commander of the Legion's St. Croix District, and a former president of both the St. George Curling Club and the Brunswick Curling Club, in Blacks Harbour.

He liked to shoot skeet and curled right into his 80s, but he was never happier than "when he was out fishing and hunting, especially if his (first-born) grandson, Andrew Anthony, was with him."

Brown also liked to cook, garden and, in retirement, enjoyed travels to places like Florida, California and Alaska in the company of his late schoolteacher wife Olive (English), a native of Deer Island, who died in 2003.

Born at Wilsons Beach, Campobello, on Dec. 6, 1915, Edward Raye Brown was a son of the late Willie and Gertrude (Ludlow) Brown.

His survivors include Anthony, of Pennfield, and her sister, Natalie Harris of Blacks Harbour; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

During the Second World War, Brown served with the Royal Air Force's Marine Squadron in Point Doichin, Que., Halifax and Shediac, where he earned tickets as a carpenter, diesel mechanic and stationary engineer.

He was still in uniform when he and Olive were married on Sept. 2, 1945, at the Baptist Church in Lambertville, Deer Island. Anthony recalled her mother, who had gone to Campobello to teach elementary school, telling her how her father was wearing a red wool sweater when she first laid eyes on him on the basketball court.

After starting married life in Shediac, Brown moved to the Blacks Harbour area, where he was to serve as head keeper of the Pea Point Light for 21 years. He and Olive started their family at the light. But once his eldest girl reached school age he purchased a big house at neaby Wallace Cove which, in the 1960s, became the mainland terminal for the Grand Manan ferry service. Brown finished out his working life as the wharf agent for Coastal Transport, the ferry operator, retiring around 1980. Shortly before retirement, the Browns also relocated to 225 Blacks Harbour Rd. in Pennfield.

"When Dad moved there, he became an avid gardener and had a big vegetable garden and raspberry canes and they were right into jam-making and pickling," said Anthony. "When we moved to the (Wallace) Cove and he was still on the lighthouse, he had to cook for himself. He made excellent stews and fish chowders. So, when Mom developed osteoporosis in later years, Dad was the one who made the pickles."

Brown's love of sports of all kinds, especially curling, continued long after his body kept him from taking part.

"It was nothing for him to stay up and watch the Scott Tourament of Hearts on TV until 3 a.m.," Anthony said of the onetime skip. "Dad still liked to call the shots."

SOURCE: New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, NB) - November 26, 2007.

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