Oran Vernell Brown transformed the lives of many young men and in doing so his life was enriched. He was the quintessential husband, father, friend and mentor. He died on Oct. 14. He was 66.
Brown was born to James A. Brown Sr. and Dorothy Bailey Brown on November 27, 1944 in Philadelphia. At an early age, he accepted Jesus Christ at Zion Baptist Church where he later sang in the choir and served as an usher.
Brown was educated within the Philadelphia Public School District and later graduated from Cheyney University in 1967 where he received a B.S. degree in Education. He pursued a career in education with the local school district as an educator and administrator for over 32 years.
He positively touched the lives of the young people with whom he interfaced. Because of his commitment to education, he was later a founding member of the Bensalem Equality Council whose mission was to increase the number of people of color in the Bensalem School District.
In 1970, Brown married the love of his life, Veronica (Ronni) Robinson. From this union, two daughters, Ayanna Brown Lewis and Kai Brown, were born. His family was his pride and joy and a source of his love.
In regards to serving the Lord, Brown was a member of Salem Baptist Church for over 20 years. In 2008, he joined Second Baptist Church of Doylestown where he deepened his faith and commitment to God. He served as a member of the Feeding Ministry, the Scholarship Committee and a member of the trustee board.
Brown was also very passionate about life and his family. He was gregarious and enjoyed traveling, entertaining and reading.
He possessed a “green thumb” which was evident by the beautiful plants around and in his home. He was a great storyteller and enjoyed critiquing the latest movies. In his family he was known as the “Movie Critic,” but above all he had a welcoming smile that lit up the room and made everyone in his presence feel comfortable and special.
Brown was transparent in expressing his truth in word and deeds. His vibrant storytelling and unique sense of humor were reflected in many of the stories, according to friends and family.
He was also affectionately known as “Daddi-o” and embodied the qualities of his fraternity in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Brown was initiated into the Gamma Omega Chapter at Cheyney University in 1965 where he served as Vice Polemarch and Keeper of Records.
In 1967, he joined the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter and actively served on many committees. He later transferred his service to the Norristown Alumni Chapter in 1991 where he served as Polemarch from 1996 to 1998. He continued to work on a Province level and was elected Senior Vice Polemarch in 2007.
In addition to this, he served on a national level as a fraternity member of various committees and commissions. He was a leader among men and dedicated to the principle of excellence. He received the James M. Kidd Award for distinguished and dedicated service in 2009.
Brown’s commitment to public service led him to seek membership in the Masonic organization. He was a member of Prince Hall Masonry; Ambler Lodge #19; De Molay Consistory; Susqi-Centennial and Pyramid Temple #1. He served as Worshipful Master from 2008 to 2009 and was currently a District Lecturer.
Brown leaves to mourn: wife, Veronica; daughters, Ayanna Lewis (Clifton) and Kai; brothers, James and Harold; brother-in-law, Marvin Robinson; sisters-in-law, Hazel Souder and Betty Robinson; grandson, Davon; nephews, Keith, Ebon, Edward, Andrew, James III and Jerald; nieces, Kelli, D’Ana, Janine, Lynn, Adrienne, Jennifer, Liani and Alexandra; goddaughter, Brittni; and a hosts of aunts, uncles, cousins and mentees.
Services will be held Oct. 21 at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 W. Johnson St. The viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The service will start at 11. Bruce R. Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.