Many will gather today to remember a Rockdale County man who lived more than 100 years, but was maybe most known for his kindness and his sense of hard work.
The funeral for Arthur Lee “Buck” Brown of Conyers is at noon today at Double Springs Baptist Church in Conyers. Visitation was held Friday. Brown died Dec. 27, 2013, just two days after he turned 103 years old on Christmas Day.
Brown was born in Locust Grove, Henry County, as the oldest of nine children — three boys and six girls — to mother Lena Brown and father Clove Brown, though he said his father left when he was young.
Brown lived in the days of dirt roads, mules and wagons, when “very few folks had cars,” and “houses were a long distance,” according to his son, Grady Brown.
Buck Brown grew up on a farm, producing crops such as cotton, corn, and bell peppers. He had to quit school at a young age to help his family with the farm.
“Back in those days, it was hard to make it,” said Grady, who now owns and operates the Brown and Young Home of Funerals in Lithonia.
Buck Brown continued to farm for much of his adult life, as there were few job opportunities for blacks. Grady said he mostly grew cotton and corn and had gardens that were for his family.
Aside from being a sharecropper, Grady Brown said his father “would always work around in the community.”
“I remember when we were small (and) saw (a neighbor) got sick, he would load us and we would do whatever it took to carry on that person’s crop,” Grady Brown, 72, said. “You won’t find that now.”
Buck Brown was described as a quiet, gentle, mild-mannered soul.
“He wasn’t loud, at all,” Grady Brown said.
Buck Brown continued to work at the Underwoods’ farm until about two years ago. He was a longtime deacon at Double Springs Baptist Church. He enjoyed his home and walking around outside.
His granddaughter Dr. Taiwanna Brown-Bolds, a physician, said previously that he took two medications and his diet was mainly of vegetables, cornbread and buttermilk
While he was not mobile in his last eight to nine months, Buck Brown still drove, “all the way up to then,” according to Grady.
“Lived by himself and everything,” he added.
Buck’s wife, Leola, died in 1989, so he lived alone on Farmer Road, across the street from his son Grady.
Buck Brown could often be seen sitting on the front porch, his much-enjoyed pastime.
“I’ll be out there, cutting the yard and he would be wanting to help,” Grady Brown said.
“I’ll tell him, ‘You just sit down and you relax.’”
Grady said he will miss seeing his father sitting on the porch.
“But all at the same time I realize I’ve been fully blessed,” Grady said. “Most people don’t get to know their parents, and I’ve known mine for 72 years.”
Grady said his father made a real effort to treat everyone right.
“God just gave him longevity. Sometimes he wondered why,” Grady Brown said. “He said it comes from him being a hard-working fellow, God-fearing man, and being honest.”
In a previous interview, after his 100th birthday, Brown was asked what was the secret to living such a long life.
“My secret?” he said, “Oh, my goodness, I can tell you that. I went to work when I wasn’t big enough and I worked all my life long. That’s the biggest secret I could tell you.”
His seven children are Irene Baker of Conyers, Marvin Brown (deceased), Ethlene Lester Brown of Covington, Stella Mae Crawford of Decatur, Grady Brown of Conyers, Patty Zachary of Covington, and Willie Kate Chaney of Decatur.
He is also survived by his 31 grandchildren, more than 30 great-grandchildren and more than 10 great-great-grandchildren.