John Brown 1932-2019
Donnington Castle Chapter No.856
John Frederick Brown 26th June 1932 - 2nd November 2019
John Frederick Brown was born on the 26th June 1932 at Bothy Cottage Folly Farm, Sulhamstead, a brother for Winn. When he was only six weeks old the family moved to Whitchurch in Oxfordshire where John’s Father was a gardener and his Mother a housekeeper at The Mount in Whitchurch, and it was here that John started his school days. The family moved around the local area and John finished his schooling at Theale C of E School.
On leaving school John’s first job was as a shop assistant at the Co op in Pangbourne.
In 1950 the Country and the British Army saw great potential in John and he was called up for National Service, and what a shame we still do not have that today. He started his military training at Aldershot and on completion was posted to Munster in Germany and served with Army Catering Corp serving in the Officers Mess and also working in the kitchen at the British Medical Hospital. He was obviously well trained in making pastry as over recent years I have always enjoyed one or two of his mince pies around this time of year, good pastry and plenty of mincemeat. On completion of his two years distinguished Military Career John went to work at Carter Brothers Grocery shop in Theale High Street and I guess that many of you are familiar with the name Alec Carter. It was while working at Carter Brothers that in 1952 John met and fell for the lovely Nancy Cath who worked in Theale Post Office and she told me that her job title was a call girl. I do not want you getting the wrong impression as Nancy was working on the telephone exchange in the Post Office.
They were courting for three years and then John and Nancy married in this church on the 1st October 1955 and settled in Theale Village. In July 1958 their daughter Yvonne was born and then Richard came along in February 1961. To date they have five grandsons, one granddaughter and twelve great grandchildren and I suppose that number could grow.
They were married for 64 years and many of you, like me will remember the joint wedding celebrations with Winn and Alan at the Old Mill in 2015.
Nancy and John enjoyed their cruising and very often with Winn and Alan. How great it was that John and Nancy surprised Winn and Alan by joining them on a cruise back in August this year. Winn and Alan thought that John and Nancy were just taking them to Southampton. So a great surprise for them when they said we are coming with you.
It was in 1953 that John met John Simmons and they became firm friends for 66 years. In those early days they both played football for Englefield Football Club and both took a very keen and supportive interest in Englefield Social Club.
In 1962 John well supported by Nancy started Theale Taxis and I can vouch what a good driver Nancy was, and no matter how much I had had to drink John always got me home safely. In 1997 John decided to retire and his son Richard took over the business and Theale Taxis still flourishes to this day.
John was a member of Theale St John Ambulance and became its President. He was very instrumental in helping to raise £22,000 for a new ambulance in the late !980’s. He was rewarded for this in 1991 by being made a Serving Brother in the Venerable Order of The Hospital of St John of Jerusalem’ an honour conferred on him by Her Majesty the Queen.
John became a Free Mason on the 19th February 1976 joining Theale on Holybrook Lodge. John really enjoyed his Free Masonry and rarely missed a meeting and was Assistant Secretary to me for 18 years looking after the dining. He was also a member of the Ancient and Accepted Rite joining Donnington Castle Chapter Rose Croix.
In April 1996 with his Army Catering experience John opened the Village Tea Room in Theale High Street which he ran for three and a half years until October 1999 when he sold it to one of his taxi drivers.
For many years the Army Catering Corp have held an Annual Church Service and Sunday lunch at Aldershot and I had the pleasure of attending a few of them including the one in July this year together with other friends from Theale.
John was a member of the Memorable Order of Tin Hats commonly known as The Moths and every year they held an Armistice Dinner on the Wednesday before Remembrance Sunday. John had arranged this year’s dinner and it went ahead as he had planned.
John would help with the Poppy Appeal in delivering and collecting the Poppy Boxes with his good friend Roy Taylor to the Theale Business area and would also assist me at the Motorway Service Area where he would enjoy a free cup of coffee.
John put heart and soul into both family and village life.
There was the Brown/Turner family Christmas lunch every year at the Old Mill and yes, I was fortunate to be invited to a couple of them, such enjoyable occasions. One of John’s nephews Ray Wells commented in a card to Nancy recently that John was the glue that kept the family together especially the Turner family.
Then there was the Business Christmas party always the last Friday before Christmas organised by JB, John Simmons and Ivan Lewendon again at the Old Mill and what great nights they were.
The long weekends away by coach twice a year going to Isle of Wight, Portland Bill, Tenby, Bournemouth, Weymouth to name a few and the coach tours to Scotland Europe. How fortunate we were that back in early October we enjoyed a memorable weekend in Mid Wales and I can still clearly hear John calling out the bingo numbers but must admit I was not playing.
After this service you are all invited to the Old Mill for refreshments and many of you will know that JB always enjoyed attending a wake and would usually be first at the food table, this was not because he was hungry but with his catering experience he was tasting to make sure all was well.
From what I have told you, you can see that JB had a very happy and fulfilling life and we all will truly miss him and I feel sure that all our lives have been enriched by knowing this lovely man.
John, JB may you rest in eternal peace and rise in glory.
Delivered at John’s Funeral, held at St.Marks’ Church, Englefield
on 26th November 2019 by Ill.Bro. Lionel Voke 30°