A.J. Brown (Coach Brown), left this world on November 29th, 2018, following a lengthy illness. He was surrounded by his family that loves and adores him. Judson as he was known in Alabama, was born on February 26, 1931, in the Flatwoods of Marengo County (Thomaston, Alabama) ….and yes it was way down in Dixie, and yes it was on a frosty morn… He graduated from Marengo County High School in Thomaston Alabama where he excelled in Football, Basketball, and Baseball. Judson was quarterback and team captain…and, it has to be told, they even made up a song about him …” He’s our Capitan- he’s our dream-he’s the hero of our team- Hi Judson, Ho Brown, Hi Ho Judson Brown!”. Judson was kind and popular and loved by his classmates.
Following graduation, Judson attended East Mississippi College on a Football Scholarship for one semester. Following East Mississippi College, Judson joined the Airforce, which included training at Lackland AFB, Denver, and then 2-years in Morocco, North Africa. Ensuing his service in South Africa Judson was stationed in Roswell, NM at Walker AFB for two years. During his time in Roswell, he met the love of his life, his soulmate, Wanda Johnson (Wan). They laid eyes on each other across the dance floor. He asked her to dance, and they danced the night away and the rest is history…as they say. Judson and Wanda married two years later on September third, 1954 and left back to Dad’s beloved Alabama that very night.
A.J. and Wanda moved to Tuscaloosa Alabama where he attended the University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE!!) and received a degree in Physical Education and minor in English and Biology. While living in Tuscaloosa their only child Dorothy was born on October 20, 1955. Many years later after returning to Roswell A. J. received his master’s Degree from Highland University in Las Vegas, NM.
Following graduation from the University of Alabama, Judson was employed at Uniontown High School in Uniontown Alabama where he coached all sports and taught for two years. Following Uniontown, he accepted a coaching and teaching position at Sweet Water Alabama. Following Sweet Water, he was employed as the Assistant Superintendent of Marengo County and Head of the Title 1 Program.
In 1968, the family would move back to Roswell. A. J. taught and coached at Goddard High School for two years. He was then coaxed across town to Roswell High School where he was Assistant Football coach and Head Baseball coach. He guided the Roswell High Baseball team to the state playoffs twice (1974 and 1978). A. J. retired after 30 years of coaching and teaching. Following retirement, Coach Brown was asked to continue to coach the RHS Freshman team to prepare them for Varsity…hence the RHS varsity Football teams experienced a great deal of success following the prep, training, and discipline that Coach Brown provided.
So many times, we called the fire department to help my dad if he fell, and each time they came at least one firefighter who had dad as a coach or teacher. On many occasions dad’s students or players would ask about him and share what a positive influence he had on their life.
This amazing human being (Coach Brown, Judson, Uncle Judson/A.J., DaDa) will be dearly missed by all who loved and admired him. His absence will be a great void in our life, and as our family reunions resume in Tuscaloosa at the Alabama/Auburn Football game. He was our center…and full of his dry humor…Dad would say the funniest things, and never crack a smile, while the rest of us were rolling on the floor!
All of Coach Browns friends and students are aware that he was a devoted and fanatical Alabama Football fan, and a strong admirer of Coach Paul Bryant. The coming of fall and college football was a special time for my dad and our family…whether it was in Tuscaloosa at the games, in the living room watching Alabama and screaming and yelling at the TV, or with Cousin Gary who flew out to watch an Alabama/LSU game, which by the way, we sadly had to place our Alabama Flag at half-mast. So now, we come to a “happening”, that must be told……dad actually listened to an Alabama/Auburn game over the phone long distance while my uncle Jim in Alabama laid the phone by television! That was, of course, before ESPN or SEC Channel. These moments will always be talked and laughed about, and hold a special place in our hearts, with his spirit forever by our side.
A.J. is survived by his Wife of 64 years, Wanda Brown, his daughter Dorothy Tarter and her husband Steve; one feline, Prince; sister Betty (Bitty) Vergeson (Charles) of Tallahassee Fl; a brother Jim Brown (Peggy) of Lanette Alabama; sister-in-law Olivia Brown of Opelika, Alabama; nephews Gary Brown (Laura), Little Jim Brown (Shannon), Keith Vergeson, John Vergeson (Melissa), and David Papworth (Pauline); nieces, Melody LeCroy (Braxton); Janice Brown, Denise Kelley, and Cindy Ruff; and of course great nieces and nephews, Chris Knudsen (Audrey), Peter Knudsen (Diana), Ashley Knudsen, Leah Orchard (Jim), (Little Sean, Little Chris, Wyatt, Eric, Grayson, Little David, Leah, Luke, Ada, Brice, Elizabeth, Scott, Liam, Danielle, Jeremy ,Maximus and Lorelei, Anakin and Padme).
Thank-you to the many wonderful and amazing friends including Craig and Doretta Hipple who continually checked in on both dad and mom, and were always bringing food over, Hope and Bill Parker who always called to check on mom and dad, Wanda and Jim Sexe…special lifelong friends, and a very good friend Mary Jennings.
A special thanks to Chris and Audrey Knudsen who were always there for mom and dad day or night. A special thanks to Cindy and Ashley who were also there whenever we called, and who were there the last night of dad’s life. We couldn’t have made it without all of these special angels in our lives…and to all of my special friends, you know who you are, …I certainly would not have survived this difficult time in my life without your shoulders to cry on, and of course, your wine.
Many thanks to Kindred Hospice and especially Anita, another one of our angels who’s love, support, care, and compassion meant so much. Thank you to Helen for always getting Dad’s Respite setup exactly as we wanted. Thank-you Stacy, Jessica, Rosalee, and Margarita. Thank you to Casa Maria, and Paula, who was one of dad’s students who told him “Coach Brown, you took care of me in high school, so now it’s is my turn to take care of you.” So, comforting to hear when a family is in that particular situation. And last but certainly not least, to Mr. Garcia who was always there when we needed him to sit with dad and take care of him. There weren’t many people that dad would let stay besides family, but if it was Mr. Garcia then all was good…love you Mr. Garcia!
A.J. is preceded in death by his parents L.C. and Iola Brown of Thomaston Alabama, older brother L. C. Brown of Opelika Alabama, and a younger brother Cecil, of Thomaston Alabama.
I just found out that my dear friend and colleague AJ Brown has passed away. This greatly saddens me. I loved AJ and learned a great deal from him. He taught me more about coaching and about life than I learned from anyone else. My heart and prayers go out to Wanda and Dorothy and all of the Brown family.
Bill CawoodKirtland, NM
I had the pleasure of being coached by Coach Brown. I still use several of the quotes I learned from him and still laugh every time I hear myself say them. What a great person he was. May God bless you at this time and heal your hearts.
Mike KlukLos Alamos, NM
Coach Brown's smiling face my freshman year at GHS helped me endure being part of the 1st freshmen class, & most teachers were not prepared for us! I am sorry for your loss.
Laura Snead WatersMountain Home, AR
We’re so sorry to read about the passing of Coach Brown. (What a touching obituary.) May God comfort all of you during your sad days and give you the strength to cope with your thoughts. During your disquieting days, think about seeing him again as a young and healthy man. (Please read about ‘loss of a loved one’ at jw dot org.) Ponder over what you’d like to say and how big your hugs will be when God’s wonderful promise of the resurrection takes place. (Acts 24:15)
Sosa Family, NM
Wanda and Dorothy, Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.I know how much he will be missed. We love you.
Carol and Jay RankinVisalia, CA
Coach Brown was my homeroom teacher at Sweetwater from 9th to 12th grade. That was 54 yrs ago and I still love that man today. GOD BLESS YOU COACH BROWN
Nina Glass EtheridgeLinden Al, NM
I was very blessed to coach and teach with Coach Brown from 1985-88 at RHS. What a great mentor in my first position as a young teacher/coach. He was a tremendous influence on student-athletes and I have never forgotten his influence on me.
Bill SloughGreen Bay, WI
I loved Coach Brown when he was at Sweet Water High School, Sweet Water Al. He was my homeroom teacher from 9th thru 12th grades. I was sec-treas of the class and he depended on me for everything. He wrote a special note in my yearbook. I was so sad to hear of his passing. Wanda and Dorothy, my prayers are with you through this difficult time. Love upi & the special memories.
Annita Lewis PerkinsDixons Mills, AL
So many fond memories of Coach Brown. Jerry played under him in 1962. Prayers for the family.
Jerry & Floyce DunnSweetwater, alabama, NM
Wanda and Dorothy, our prayers are with you at this difficult time in your lives. We love you and send you comfort and strength. Sorry that we can't be with you today but send you love and we hold you in our hearts. Love to you both, Neva, Don, Kenny and Gwen Doyle
Gwen Doyle and FamilyRoswell, NM
Our family honored and respected Coach AJ for many years.
I taught with coach for many years at Roswell High and next to him in the 600 wing. Our four sons played football for him and loved and respected him above all other coaches. Donald was one of his favorite students (probably reminded him of what he was like, especially in the humor part).. He was greatly loved by our family and we will miss him a lot. We will pray for him and remember him always. May God bless all of your family. Take care of your Mom.
Dr. Amarante and Dolores Fresquez and four sonsRoswell, NM 88203, NM
I am so sorry to learn about the loss of your Dad. He was one of the nicest people and I know that he was a great Dad too. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mom.
Diane KlassenRoswell, NM
So sorry to hear about AJs passing. Dorothy you wrote a beautiful tribute to your Dad, he would be proud. Miss Wanda I know you'll miss AJ but you can relax now knowing you'll see him again. Can't thank y'all enough for being such dear friends of Carmen.
MARK WRIGHTRussellville, AR
My dearest Wanda. My heart and prayers are certainly with you today. I think so often of you and wish we could visit sometime. AJ's obit is precious. It sounds like you had a wonderful life together surrounded by a wonderful family. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but my son Jim sure thought a lot of him. (Class of '60) I love you very much. Your SOS sister and friend.
Tommie Jean Didlake CooperOdessa, TX
RIP Coach Brown, forever indebted to your teachings of life through football!
Brent JaquessLas Cruces, NM
So sorry for your loss.
Kelly StarnsWeatherford, TX
Playing for AJ in the early years at ghs was both enlightening & entertaining, working alongside him later was educational. My eternal gratitude for both experiences and much love and condolences to Wanda and Dorothy. Rest in peace my friend and last but not least(hell no). Roll Tide! I'll think of you every time i watch Bama.
Clyde E WilliamsonScottsdale, AZ
I’m so sorry to read iof AJ. passing. I pray for comfort, and peace during this time. It’s so hard losing a parent and I’ll pray for everyone. Please let Wanda know that I love her, and think of her often.
Lesley Starns FloresAlbuquerque, NM
I did not have a better coach than Coach Brown. He would always make me laugh.
Ricky StilesSan Diego, CA