Cover photo for Donald Brown's Obituary
Donald Brown Profile Photo
1936 Donald 2023

Donald Brown

May 9, 1936 — August 27, 2023


Donald Glenn Brown died at his home on Sunday August 27, 2023, in Gulf Breeze, Florida with his wife of 64 years, Pearle King, and his two daughters, Elizabeth Glyn Brown and Deborah Inez Jones, by his side.


Donald was born on May 09, 1936, in Birmingham, Alabama to Jack and Inez Glenn Brown. At the age of sixteen, he began his ministry in the United Methodist Church and served his first church at the age of eighteen. He attended Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky before transferring to Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama where he earned his AB degree. He met Pearle at a church camp in Perdido the summer before she entered Huntingdon and they married 2 years later. After his graduation from Huntingdon, Donald entered seminary at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. While in seminary, he served five churches on the Uriah, Alabama charge, four churches on the Lowndesboro, Alabama charge, and three churches on the Fort Davis, Alabama charge.


Following his graduation from seminary in 1961, he was ordained Elder in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Later that year, he was moved to Loxley, Alabama where he served for five years. In June 1966, he was moved to Samson, Alabama where he served for a year before moving back to Atlanta to attend Candler School of Theology at Emory University. There, he obtained his Doctor of Theology degree. Don formally retired as a UMC minister in 2001 and went back to school to pursue a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. He continued his work as a therapist until age and health finally slowed him down and compelled him to retire. He was a fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, as well as the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and supervised many interns and chaplains throughout his career.


Don enjoyed life. His absolute love and devotion to his family was the driving force behind everything he did. He wanted his children and his grandchildren to have the curiosity, options, and the means to pursue any and every dream they might have. His intellect and energy, his love for people and his devotion to justice were central to who he was. His brightness allowed him to be a successful financial stock market investor and his love for people allowed him to serve them as a gifted and inspirational minister and later as a marriage and family therapist. He was adventurous, creative, athletic, bright, and hard working and sought out every opportunity to explore places and activities he had never dreamed he would be able to do.


He never had a bucket list that did not include his children and grandchildren. He never wanted anything for himself that he did not want for them. He wanted his children to see the country and in the early 1960's, he and Pearle took Glyn and Debbie on trips to the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians, Key West, the Olympics in Montreal Canada, Niagara Falls, and New England. He and daughter Debbie became certified scuba divers and took several dive trips across Florida and the Caribbean. In 1972, he took the family on a ministerial exchange with a minister in Congleton, England. It was a summer in England that also included Wales, Scotland, and Europe. Yearly ski trips became a tradition and continued until he died. Skiing with his children and grandchildren was something he planned and looked forward to every Christmas and Spring break. The special trips for his children and grandchildren to Europe, the Caribbean and Alaska were among the high points of his life. No one enjoyed children and grandchildren like Don.


He had a curiosity about everything. Hunting stock Red Irish Setters became a passion in the early sixties, and he raised and hunted quail with his AKC and American Field Hunting Irish Setters until he died.


He was also an avid boater and was never without a boat for fishing and water skiing. He taught his wife, Pearle, to ski when she was 2 months pregnant with Glyn, their first child. While he owned different boats, his favorite make was the Grady White and he owned several throughout his 60 years of boating.


He was an aspiring writer, journalist, and poet. He kept a daily diary and his fascination with the physical, mental, emotional, and social growth of himself, his children, and his grandchildren is reflected in his writings. He marveled at their precociousness and could hardly believe how advanced their verbal, social, emotional, and physical abilities became each day. His love of writing was reflected in his sermons, his marriage and family therapy presentations and his yearly Christmas poems. Finally, he was an advocate for peace and tolerance. He was a member and activist of the NAACP in the 60's, and as a minister in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, he worked for social justice and acceptance of all people in the church. In 1969, while minister of the Tuskegee UMC, he was able to get the doors of the church unlocked to allow Black participants in the church service. The sixties were turbulent times for the entire family.


We laughingly called him the "did you/have you" man. He was a person who got things done and he tried to make sure everyone else did, too. He always kept a running list in his pocket until he became ill, and he would mark through and add to it every day. He regretted that he did not get much encouragement to achieve when he was young, and he wanted to make sure people around him did not forget to do all of which they were capable. He would not allow you to forget. We always knew we were going to have to respond to "Did you/Have you."


Don was preceded in death by his great grandmother, Rilla Cox; grandfathers, John Madison Glenn and Claude Oliver Brown; grandmothers, Zora Estelle Glenn and Lillie Mae Willis; mother, Inez Glenn Brown; father, Jack Brown; sisters, Jacqueline Smyth and Carol Gibson; and nephews Stephen Smyth and Jack Gibson. He is survived by his wife, Pearle King Brown; his daughters Glyn Brown and Debbie Jones; grandsons, Joshua Dick, Connor Jones, and Caleb Dick; granddaughter, Claire Jones; nephews, James Smyth, Roger Smyth, and Geoffrey Gibson; and nieces, Dessa Vickers and Julie Adams.


In his life as a minister and as a therapist, he touched the lives of many people. He comforted people in their sorrow, nurtured them in their growth, encouraged them in their challenges and rejoiced with them in their happiness.


May he enjoy his time with You, O Lord, as much as he has enjoyed his time here on earth, and may You enjoy him as much as we in his family have enjoyed him.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to any of the following organizations/programs: Ruth’s Kitchen at First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, FL; the American Cancer Society, Save the Children, the National Wildlife Federation, or Vitas Healthcare.


A celebration of life is scheduled for Friday, October 6, 2023, at 1:00 pm at First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, FL (6 East Wright Street). A reception will follow worship.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Brown, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, October 6, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

6 E Wright St, Pensacola, FL 32501

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