‘Doc’ Brown succumbs

Published 5:39 pm Wednesday, December 31, 2008

RICH SQUARE – A man known throughout the state of North Carolina for his loving and compassionate care of animals has died.

Dr. James Everett “Doc” Brown, 90, a much loved veterinarian who called Rich Square home, passed away on Monday morning, Dec. 29, 2008, in Birmingham, Ala. where he was to witness his beloved NC State University football team compete later that day against Rutgers University in the papajohns.com Bowl. He spent his last night with loved ones at an N.C. State pep rally in Birmingham.

For 65 years, he practiced veterinary medicine from a tiny, white framed office on the outskirts of Rich Square. Prior to his death, he was the longest-serving, full-time veterinarian in the state of North Carolina. Working seven days a week, he served multiple generations of families and their animals from all over eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia.

No mater the hour, the day or what type of animal was in need of his loving care, “Doc” Brown was on call. Often, if you could not bring the animal to him, he hopped inside his trademark “service” vehicle – a rolling “veterinary hospital” – and came to the rescue.

Brown was also at the forefront of rabies prevention. It is not known how many rabies vaccinations he doled out over his 65 years, but if those needles were gold, he would perhaps be a multi-billionaire.

He was born in Rich Square on Dec. 12, 1918, the son of Everett L. and Bertha P. Brown.

Dr. Brown was a 1939 graduate of North Carolina State University where he served as student manager of the Wolfpack football team. From there he followed several close friends and fellow NCSU alumni to Alabama Polytechnic University (Auburn) where he attended the veterinary medical school. Dr. Brown graduated in November 1943. He was president of his senior class.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Medical Corps, with postings in Europe and the Philippines.

Following the war, he married Jane Bastob of Decatur, Illinois, on March 10, 1947. She preceded him in death in August 2003.

Dr. Brown devoted long years of service to the Northampton County Health Department. On Jan. 27, 2005 he was presented the Carl Durham Award by the Association of North Carolina Boards of Health for his leadership and advocacy in public health. On March 21, 2005 he also was recognized by the Northampton County Board of Commissioners for his “dedicated and untiring service in the field of veterinary medicine to the citizens of Northampton County.”

Throughout his life, he was a faithful member of the Rich Square United Methodist Church. He also was a devoted member of the American Legion in Northampton County and a staunch supporter of Northeast Academy in Lasker.

Among other honors he was inducted into the Wallace Carl Riddick Society in 2004 in recognition of the commitment he made to North Carolina State University’s future through lifetime gift support.

He was recognized by the Woodland Horse and Pony Show on April 30, 2000 for outstanding service through the years as the official show veterinarian. In 2002, he was honored for his years of service to the youth involved in the Northampton and Hertford County 4-H Livestock Programs.

Along with his church, his family and his friends, the N.C. State University Wolfpack remained especially dear to his heart.

Dr. Brown is survived by one daughter, Rachel Brown Hackney of Sarasota, Fla., and her husband, Robert; two grandchildren, Robert Hackney Jr. and Stewart Hackney, both of Austin, Texas; one brother, Thomas Brown of Rich Square, N.C., and his wife, Mildred; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He took tremendous delight in being a second grandfather to Meghan, Lyndal, Parker and Amelia Brown and Benjamin Brown Knight.

He was preceded in death by one daughter, Barbara Ann, in 1968; and two sisters, Louise and Margaret.

A funeral will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 2 at Rich Square United Methodist Church with burial following in Cedar Lawn Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 1 at Sykes Funeral Service, Rich Square.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the James E. and Jane Brown Endowment of the NCSU Libraries, N.C. State University, Box 7111, Raleigh, NC 27695-7111, or to the charity of one’s choice.