Dr. Kenneth W. Brown, 75


Dr. Kenneth W. Brown, 75, of Springfield, died Sept. 23, 2020, in Springfield. 

He was born Feb. 9, 1945, in Douglas County, the son of Orville “Jake” and Mildred Kiree Hartley Brown. In the late 1940s, his father founded and operated the Brown Furniture Co. on the present site of the Ava Drug Co. After his father’s death of tuberculosis in 1949, his mother earned a teacher’s certificate by attending what is now Missouri State University in Springfield, and from 1950 until 1957 the family continued to live in Douglas County while she taught in one-rooms schools there.

In 1957, Kiree Brown moved her family to Wichita, Kansas, where Kenneth graduated from Wichita South High School in 1962 and then attended Wichita’s Friends University before transferring to Emporia State University and then to Wichita State University, where he graduated in 1966. 

At Emporia State, he met fellow student Joy Neal, who had spent her childhood in southeast Missouri before moving to Kansas City, Kansas, to live with her brother after their mother’s death in 1962. They were married June 5, 1965, at the Argentine Church of Christ in Kansas City, Kansas. They lived in Wichita until January 1968, when they moved to Springfield, where Dr. Brown worked for a CPA firm and Mrs. Brown continued her college studies at what is now MSU, graduating in 1972. 

After earning a Ph.D., Brown joined the MSU faculty, where he worked for 32 years as an administrator and accounting professor. 

He was very proud of his Ozarks roots, including his ancestral links to Ozark County. He inherited his mother’s genealogy records and continued to investigate his and Mrs. Brown’s family trees, eventually building a website, theozarkuncle.net, where he posted thousands of photos and dozens of family stories. 

As a service to the Ozark County Historium, Dr. Brown scanned and digitized the 634-page book “Ozark County History, 1841-1991” after it went out of print so that the valuable book, now on DVD, could continue to be sold as a fundraiser for the Historium.

He also scanned dozens of family photos as well as historical photos taken by the late Orval Jernigan, a sales representative for Milligan Grocery Co. who traveled to the rural stores throughout the area. The original album of Jernigan photographs is owned by Christy Voliva of Ava, who agreed that Dr. Brown could share them with the Historium. Many have since been published in the Ozark County Times. 

His family included his wife, Joy; their sons Kelly Brown and wife Susan Vydra, and Dennis Brown; and grandchildren James Robert Brown, Louis Patric Brown, Ora Anouk Brown and Skye Kiree Brown. 

  This obituary has been written based on information in Dr. Brown’s website, theozarkuncle.net. The Times will publish an obituary provided by the family, as well as any plans for memorial services, if they become available.

Arrangements by Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, Springfield. 

Ozark County Times

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PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423