Cover photo for Francis Christopher Browne's Obituary
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Francis Christopher Browne

January 1, 1930 — January 13, 2024

Mount Airy, NC

Francis Christopher Browne

 

Francis Christopher Browne passed away peacefully at his Mount Airy, North Carolina home of natural causes at the age of ninety-four on January 13, 2024. He was Born January 1, 1930, to Mary Alice (Welch) Browne and Robert Connellan Browne. He was the eighth of their ten children and was affectionately known as Frankie in his youth and Frank later in life. Frank attended North Main Street and Mount Airy High School. As a high school student, he played football for the Mt. Airy Bears, helping lead the team to the 1948 state championship his senior year. After high school Frank joined the US Army. He served as a member of the Cadre for the US Army's 36th Armored Infantry Battalion Company "C", Combat Command "A", 3rd Armored Division in Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was Inducted May 2, 1951, transferred to Army Reserve May 2, 1953, and was Honorably Discharged November 29, 1956. He said the best thing about being a member of the cadre was that he was able to hitchhike back to Mount Airy, NC on most weekends to see his girlfriend, Gay Vernie Smart. Gay, who he often referred to as “The Pride of Patrick County,” ‘Queen Bee” and “My Little Chickadee,” married on February 13, 1954. With her by his side they built a life and a legacy spanning 70 years, blessed with twelve children, twenty-one grandchildren and to date, fourteen great grandchildren. Upon his discharge from the Army, he returned to Mount Airy and worked in several positions at the North Carolina Granite Corporation. However, after hearing years of nagging about “getting out of all that dust” from Gay, he sought a new career. He settled on becoming an electrician and attended night school at Surry Community College. After getting experience and his contractor’s license, he founded Browne Electric Company where he focused on residential and light commercial work. Sometimes Gay or his children worked as assistants. He continued with the business until his retirement. Frank built memories around the table with special treats, the aroma of his legendary yeast bread would fill the house and welcome the family home on most Sundays and holidays. His tasty gingerbread while the family watched Wild Kingdom and Disney on Sunday night is something his children fondly remember. And how he kept popsicles and Hershey’s Kisses in the freezer to share with all the visiting grandchildren. He was a gifted singer who enjoyed sharing his voice in the church choir for many years. You could often hear his voice ringing throughout the neighborhood as he sang a new favorite song or practiced for the church choir. Through the years he would tell stories of growing up in the family house on Orchard Street with his nine siblings, like when they would dig underground tunnels for fun or the time his mother allowed him to buy one hundred chickens to raise at the house. It was a time when Orchard Street was more rural, and homes had barns and animals. Frank remained athletic and socially active throughout his life, racing and playing ball with his children and grandchildren in his younger days and walking downtown and talking with his neighbors. He especially enjoyed having breakfast with his friends at Ocie’s as often as possible. As a husband, he made sure to let his wife know how much he loved and appreciated her, and how proud he was of her. He supported her in her career, accomplishments, and hobbies. He rarely left her side, and they were often seen just sitting holding hands. They were truly a team. As a father, he helped his children see their value as individuals and the importance of faithfulness and good relationships. He always made sure his children knew how much he loved their mother. He lived well and allowed his children to see his growth through the years, the distinct roles one human can have as life changes. As a grandfather, he watched with quiet pride as his children brought the next generation “home” and he became the best friend for so many of them. As a man, he set the bar extremely high. His children cared for him at his home during the last few years of his life with assistance from caregivers from the Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care in his final days. Frank was a life-long member of Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church and was a devout, active Catholic throughout his life. Always leading by example for his family and community. The world is a much better place for all he has done. Mr. Browne is survived by his wife of nearly seven decades, Gay Vernie Smart Browne; Twelve children Michael Francis Browne (Ruth) of Ocean Drive, SC, Monica Alice Browne (Gus) of Charlotte, NC, Catherine Jeanne Thompson (Tim) of Mountain Park, NC, Maureen Alice York (Bill) of Mt. Airy, NC, Shawn David Browne (Kelly) of Graham, NC, Gloria Lynn Cook (David) of Lenoir, NC,  Francis Christopher Browne, Jr. of Erie, CO, Therese Gay Haselden (Bill) of Elkin, NC, Sarah Elizabeth Hoge (Bill) of Dobson, NC, Patrick Loren Browne (Daphne) of Roanoke Rapids, NC, Susan Smart Atkins (David) of Winston-Salem, NC, Anne Marie Hicks (Michael) of Mt. Airy, NC; One sister, Therese Anna Abraham (Malouf) of Canadian, TX; one brother, David Lewis Browne (Janie) of Anderson, SC; Twenty-Two Grandchildren and 14 Great Grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary Alice Welch Browne and Robert Connellan Browne; sisters, Mary Agnes Cohill, Monica Alice Preisinger; brothers, Robert Maurice Browne, Thomas Marcus Browne III, John Alphonse Browne, Joseph Connellan Browne, Maurice Cornelius Browne, and grandchild, Kaitlyn Browne. The family will receive friends on Saturday January 20th at 10:00AM at The Duncan Center of Holy Angels Catholic Church in Mount Airy, NC. A funeral mass, conducted by Reverend Peter K. Nouck will be held following the visitation at 12:00PM. Interment will follow at Oakdale Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Building Fund of Holy Angels Catholic Church, 1208 North Main Street, Mount Airy, NC 27030, to Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative, 105 N. Crutchfield St., Dobson, NC 27017. Moody Funeral Service of Mount Airy is entrusted with Mr. Browne’s services. Condolences may be made at www.moodyfuneralservices.com.

 

 

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Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, January 20, 2024

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Visitation in the Duncan Center

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Mass

Saturday, January 20, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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