James A. Brown Jr.

James A. (Jim) Brown Jr. died at his home in Arlington, Va. August 1,  after a brief illness. Mr. Brown was born in Jackson August 25, 1940.

He was 77 at the time of his death. He was preceded in death by his parents, James A. (Army) Brown and Iris Williamson Brown.

Jim was a precocious student and became one of the youngest “Ham” radio operators in the U.S. at age 13. He was an Eagle scout and was graduated from Murrah High School in Jackson in 1958. In high school, music was a primary interest. He played upright bass in his own band, the Rockaways, and with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra and French horn with the Murrah High School marching band. He was a National Merit semi-finalist.

At the University of Mississippi, which he attended on a band scholarship, Jim was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He was graduated first in his class from Ole Miss in 1962 , having made only one B in his college career, with a triple major in English, French and economics.

He then attended graduate school on a full scholarship at Duke University, where he received his doctorate in economics in 1966.

After graduation from Duke, Brown began a long career in government service. He moved to Washington, D.C. in 1966 and worked for the Institute of Defense Analysis until 1970, including a posting at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, Viet Nam during the war. From his days in Viet Nam, he developed a life long interest in Asian culture.

In 1970, Jim went to work for the Agency for International Development (AID), a branch of the U.S. State Department. He was a gifted student of languages, with partial fluency in eight languages. In 1972, he spent a year teaching English at the University of Taipei.

In 1973, he returned stateside and resumed work with AID until 1979.

During this period, Jim spent several years working in Africa, including the countries of Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast, analyzing agriculture and food production. In 1976, he worked on an AID initiative to improve economic and financial data worldwide, and spent time in Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines.

His interest in radio and communications led to a job at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) where he wrote and researched policy papers and coordinated conferences and seminars.

Brown met his wife, Nual, a native of Thailand, in Washington and they were married in 1985. He retired from government service and, with his wife as his partner, founded an import company, Enjai International, which specialized in selling items from Thailand. This company was active for many years, selling products in all 50 states and countries throughout the Caribbean.

Jim had a deep interest in foreign cultures. In his life he travelled to five continents and 76 countries. 

After retiring from the import business, Brown was an investor in real estate properties in the D.C. area and in Jackson. He and his wife maintained a residence in Jackson and divided their time between homes in Jackson and Arlington.

A man of many interests, in retirement Jim began genealogical research on his own ancestors as well as directing the Brown Family DNA study for the U.S. and all English speaking countries for 15 years. In 2011, he joined the Washington Balalaika Orchestra and, more recently, played upright bass in the Arlington Concert Orchestra.

His ties to Jackson remained strong throughout his life. He was an active member of the Murrah Class of 1958 alumni group, and helped coordinate email communications and reunions, including the 60th reunion in May, 2018.

Jim will be remembered for his loyalty to friends and family, his dry wit, and his scholarly nature.

He is survived by his wife, Nualnapa Brown of Arlington; sisters Amanda Brown Olmstead (George) of Atlanta, and Adele Brown Tyler (Dan) of Nashville; nieces Vanessa McDonald (Matt) of Chattanooga, Blake Mavrogeorgis (Peter) of Atlanta, Elise Tyler of Los Angeles; nephews Jamie Olmstead (Melissa) of Atlanta, and William Tyler of Los Angeles.

Funeral services and burial will be August 6 at Lakewood Funeral Home, 6011 Clinton Blvd.. Visitation will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and the service at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Dick Swayze presiding.

Memorials may be made to Little Falls Presbyterian Church, 6025 Little Falls Road, Arlington, Va., 22207. A memorial service in Arlington is being planned for a later date.

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