James Elba “Jim” Brown, age 54, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 from his earthly home. He was born December 19, 1961 in Chillicothe, Ohio to the late James E. Brown and Freda Watson Brown. Jim was a 1980 graduate of Jackson High School and a 1984 graduate of Rio Grande College, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, with an emphasis on Communications.
On August 17, 1984, he married the love of his life, Laura Swonger. To this union, one child, Molly Lynn was born. Jimmy, as many people knew him, was a lifelong farmer. Farming was his life, his business, his hobby and his enjoyment. He grew up on the home farm, which he took over from his father in the mid 1980’s.
Jim started his teaching career at Southeastern Middle School and later, Southeastern High School at Richmond Dale, all the while continuing to maintain a herd of Holstein dairy cows. Jim would get up early in the morning, milk the cows, go to the house to get cleaned up, put in a full day at school, come back home, change his clothes, milk and feed the cows; then go to the house and do school-related work. He later sold the dairy cows and replaced them with beef cattle and added his beloved Cheviot sheep.
Jim loved and had a soft spot for all kinds of animals; from his border collies to an assortment of other dogs and cats, not to mention his llamas. If you ever went to the farm to visit with him, you would find, out in his machine shed, a special chair with “Brigadier General Brown” in red stick-on letters that was especially for his beloved “Briggy,” the cat.
In 2000, Jim began teaching at Jackson High School. Everyone who knew him loved his wit and sense of humor. He was always quick with a joke or funny story. He made it a point to befriend the “troubled” students and they loved him for it. He had the love of Christ in his heart which made him love those whom others found unlovable. Although it wasn’t proper to talk about one’s faith in God in the classroom, Jim would do it anyway because to him the lives of those kids mattered more than his job.
On December 20, 2011, a life-altering event happened to Jim; he suffered a major stroke. However, he was determined not to let it get him down or even stop him. It was a long struggle, but with Laura’s encouragement and his faith in his Redeemer, he recovered enough to continue farming and he was about that business when he passed away.
Jim was a member and Deacon of the First Baptist Church in Coalton; Black Diamond Lodge #538 F&AM of Wellston; Jackson County Farmer’s Club, serving many years as President; Jackson Planning Commission; and the Jackson/Vinton Farm Services Committee. He was the president of the Evergreen Cemetery Association; served nine years on the Jackson County Soil and Water Board, and was a member of the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association.
Jim is survived by his wife, Laura Swonger Brown; daughter and son-in-law, Molly and Shaun Meeks of Gallipolis; granddaughter, Kennedy Mae Meeks, and soon-to-be-born granddaughter, Madison Grace Meeks; brothers, David Brown (Denise) of Lonsdale, Arkansas and Paul Brown (Denise) of Jackson; sister, Mary Brown of Wellston, along with several nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Calling hours will be Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the McWilliams Funeral Home in Wellston. Funeral service will be Sunday at 2 p.m. at the McWilliams Funeral Home with Pastor Andy Rawlins officiating. Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Jim’s honor to the Farmer’s Club Scholarship Club, c/o Jim Edwards, 1944 Moriah Road, Oak Hill, Ohio 45656, or the Coalton First Baptist Church, c/o Pastor Andy Rawlins, 4865 Sour Run Road, Wellston, Ohio 45692. Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.mcwilliams-funeralhome.com