- About Us
Rev. Dr. George Brown Jr.December 19, 1942 ~ April 30, 2017 (age 74)
Rev. Dr. George Brown, Jr., beloved husband, father, grandfather, professor, colleague, mentor, and friend, completed his faith-filled journey on earth at his home in Grand Rapids and began his life with the Savior on April 30, 2017. George was born on December 19, 1942, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to George and Miriam (McNeal) Brown and he grew up in Feasterville, Pennsylvania. On June 4, 1965 he married Willa Schaver in Erie, Illinois. They were blessed with four children, Sarah who died in infancy, Steven, Douglas, and Jeffrey. George was a graduate of Neshaminy High School (1961), Central College (1965, BA), Western Theological Seminary (1969, M.Div.), Princeton Theological Seminary (1972, Th.M.), and Michigan State University (1989, PhD). He was ordained by the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in 1969 as minister of Word and sacrament and served as pastor at Pottersville Reformed Church in Pottersville, New Jersey from 1969 to 1973 and as minister of Christian education at Central Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1973 to 1988. In 1988 he became Dean of Faculty at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He was appointed Associate Dean at Western in 1996 and was elected to the office of General Synod Professor of Theology in 1997. From 1999 until his retirement in 2012 he served as the G.W. and Eddie Haworth Professor of Christian Education at Western. George was declared G.W. and Eddie Haworth Professor of Christian Education Emeritus in 2012 and General Synod Professor Emeritus in 2013. He was a member of Christian Educators Reformed Church in America (CERCA), the Association of Presbyterian Educators (APCE), the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, the North American Professors of Christian Education, the Reformed Church in America’s Commission on Christian Education and Discipleship, the Faith Alive Board of the Christian Reformed Church, and the Central College (Pella, Iowa) Board of Trustees. George was Associate Editor of the RCA’s Historical Series, General Editor of the RCA’s Congregational Histories Series, author of numerous articles and curriculum resources, editor of Herman J. Ridder: Contextual Preacher and President, and co-compiler with D. Campbell Wyckoff of Religious Education, 1969-1993: An Annotated Bibliography (1995). During his ministry he received several awards: West Michigan Association for Counseling & Development Humanitarian Service Award for his work with the Linda VanderVeen Festival (1985), CERCA Life Achievement Award (2009), the President’s Medal (Central College, 2009), and APCE Educator of the Year (2012). George was preceded in death by his parents and a daughter Sarah Anne. He is survived by his wife Willa, three sons: Steven (Sharon Rusch), Douglas (Michelle Manning), Jeffrey (Jennifer Bell), and seven grandchildren: Justin, Mark, Gabriel, Arden, Lilly, Oscar, and Simon, a brother Robert Brown, his stepmother Doreen (Mervyn) Rambo, his sister-in-law Ruby (James) Feeley, his brother-in-law Cal (Nancy) Schaver, and nieces and nephews. The family thanks the Hospice of Holland staff, Deb, Erin, Kim, and Roberta, for their wonderful care the past two years and also the staff at Central Reformed Church for their support and care. Visitation will take place on Thursday evening, May 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Friday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. followed by the celebration of life service at 11 a.m. and lunch after the service. Visitation and the service will take place at Central Reformed Church, 10 College NE, Grand Rapids. Burial will be in Rest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Grand Rapids. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Central Reformed Church (Grand Rapids), Western Theological Seminary (Holland), or Hospice of Holland.