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William James "Jim" Brown

The Shawnee News-Star
William James (Jim) Brown passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, June 15, 2020.

William James (Jim) Brown passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, June 15, 2020, with family.

Jim was born at home in EI Reno on March 6, 1932, the middle child and only son of W.S. "Bill" Brown and Leona "Meme" Cahill Brown.

He graduated from EI Reno High School in 1950 and attended Oklahoma Baptist University from 1950-54, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree. While at OBU, he sang in the Bison Glee Club and Dean Warren M. Angell's quartet, Fallen Angels.

Jim could never decide what he wanted to be when he grew up - teacher, opera singer, choir director, actor, stage director, set designer, set builder, artist, sculptor, muralist, illustrator, emcee, sailor - so, he did them all.

He attended the University of Oklahoma as a student of Dame Eva Turner, pursuing a master's degree in vocal performance. While studying at OU, he served as part-time minister of music at First Baptist Church, Pauls Valley. His study was interrupted for two years of active duty in the U.S. Navy. On returning to Oklahoma, Brown served as minister of music at FBC, Midwest City, for eight years, during which time he completed the master's degree.

In 1964, Jim was hired by Dr. Warren M. Angell at OBU as a voice teacher, where for 34 years he taught voice, humanities, and musical theater. He was honored as Distinguished Teacher of the Year in 1991. He conducted the Bison Glee Club for two years while Dr. Michael Cox was on leave for doctoral residency. He also produced many OBU Homecoming musicals and opera productions, MC'd and entertained at many Homecoming alumni shows, Christmas chapels and 20 M & M concerts.

During the 1960s, Jim performed with the Oklahoma City Opera in Puccini's Tosca, Madame Butterfly, and Verdi's II Trovatore, with Guy Frasier Harrison conducting. He later sang the solos in Hayden's Creation with Ainslee Cox conducting. During his years at OBU, he was soloist in musical performances in Oklahoma and other states. He produced many musicals and operas at OBU - 
performing, directing, designing and constructing sets.

On Sept. 1, 1978, Jim married the love of his life, Patricia Porter. Their wedding was held at the home of their best friends, Jim and Mary Jo Shull, and was officiated by close friend, Jim Woodward.

Brown illustrated books by Dr. James Woodward, Dr. William Mitchell, and OBU J-term catalogs.

In addition to his work at the university, Jim was very active in Shawnee Little Theatre, serving as president of the Board of Directors, on stage, back stage, directing, building, and designing. He was a charter member of the community choir, Sine Nomine, serving as interim conductor for J.C. Farrand for three 

Jim was a member of FBC, Shawnee, for many years, where he served as assistant music director to Jim Woodward, director of the youth choir, and long-time member of the sanctuary choir.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister and brother-in-law, Dolores and Roy Anderson; brother-in-law, Jim Davison; and his beloved gray tabby cats, Ben and Jerry.

Jim is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughter, Cindy Brown; step-daughters, Tammy Porter (Sheri Thompson); Terri Cauthon; Tonya Wesley (Steve); step-granddaughter, Kelli Curtis; step-grandson, Bradley Curtis (Taylor); great-grandchildren, Aubrey Terry and Ferris Foresee; sister, Nancy Davison; brother-in-law, Bill Mount (Cheryl); cousin, Dr. Charles (Pat) Cahill, with whom he grew up and considered his "brother": numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews; and many friends.

Special thanks to the folks at Heartland Hospice, especially Nurse Julie, for their tender, loving care.

Walker Funeral Service is in charge of cremation. No service is planned at this time.

Donations may be made to the Wm James Brown Theatre Scholarship at Oklahoma Baptist University.