Father Robert Brown

Reverend Robert A. Brown, OSFS, 78, died on December 27, 2012, from complications of pneumonia. 

He served as pastor of Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Parish in Buxton, NC from 2006 until the time of his death. He also served Ocracoke by coming to the island every Friday for 6 and half years to hold Mass. A priest with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for 45 years, “Fr. Brown was a remarkable priest, known for his commitment to those who were poor and marginalized and for his gentle approach to anyone he served,” Reverend James J. Greenfield, OSFS, provincial said. “I think that people appreciated his big-hearted approach to everything, from building a new church to counseling someone in need.” 

Father Brown, son of the late and Anne R. (Cannon) and James F. Brown, Sr., was born in Allentown, PA in 1934 and was the youngest of eight children. He graduated from St. Catherine of Siena Grade School and then Allentown Central Catholic High School in 1952. He attended Muhlenberg College and graduated from Niagara University in 1961 and received an ROTC Commission as a second lieutenant in the US Infantry. In 1961, he entered the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, making his first profession of vows in 1963. He continued his theological studies at De Sales Hall School of Theology, Hyattsville, MD, and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gerald McDevitt, on October 21, 1967, at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Additionally, Fr. Brown completed graduate degrees at The Catholic University of America and Temple University in politics and social work, respectively.

Fr. Brown’s teaching assignments included Father Judge High School, Philadelphia, PA, and Salesianum School, Wilmington, DE. From 1969 – 1972, Father Brown also served as an inner-city counselor for Glen Mills Schools. While in the Philadelphia area, he founded and directed three group homes for troubled teens. In 1972, he was the founding director of Some Other Place, Inc. for court-committed youth, serving in that capacity until 1983.

As a parish priest, Fr. Brown served as parochial vicar at St. Cecilia Parish, Ft. Myers, FL (1984-1986) and later as pastor (1986-1991), during which time he directed the expansion of the church. In 1991, he became pastor of St. John Neumann Parish, Reston, VA, and served until 2005. While pastor of the Reston community, he managed the completion of a new church and religious education facility for 1,400 children. During that time, the parish grew from 1,700 to 3,600 families. From 2005-2006, he was parochial vicar at Blessed Pope John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers, FL. His last assignment was here in Buxton, NC . Fr Bob loved the beach and shared it with his favorite canine Molly, his boxer.  He had many other interests; he liked to fish, hunt and go boating.  Because of his love of the water Fr Bob joined the local Flotilla of the USCG Aux. 

In addition to the members of his Oblate religious community, Fr. Brown is survived by his sister Susan Reinhold of Covington, LA and many nephews and nieces. He is predeceased by his brothers, James and Hugh, and sisters Kathleen and Grace Brown, Mary Moleseed, and Anne Iobst. 

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday evening, February 12, 2013, at 7:00 PM, at Our Lady of the Seas, 48478 NC Highway 12, Buxton, NC. 

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