Reflections of the Life of
MARTIN MCDONALD BROWN Sr.
Well-respected and loved by many, Martin Brown, Sr. lived by the sentiment, “Whatever you do, do it from your heart.” It is from this perspective that he lived a life of generosity and love.
Born on July 16, 1933, to Artelia and Moody Brown in Cedar Creek, Texas, Martin McDonald Brown Sr. was a born visionary. Throughout his life, he was in many instances better known as Sonny Boy, a nickname given to him as a toddler by his grandmother. As a child, he attended school in Cedar Creek and Shiloh, where he was taught by his mother who, as he says, was often harder on him than the other kids in class. Later, he graduated from Emile High School in Bastrop, where at the age of 16 he was the first Black bus driver in Bastrop County.
After graduating high school, Martin attended Tillotson College until he was drafted for the U.S Army in February 1954. While in the Army, he served as a Squad Leader for sixteen months overseas in the Korean War. While there, he quickly learned to speak Korean and was soon responsible for teaching other soldiers to speak Korean as well.
After his separation from the military, Martin resided in California where he began his lifelong vision of acquiring real estate while also working for Atlas Spring (where he retired after over 25 years). This is also where he met and married the love of his life, Oliva Bowman Brown, on May 6, 1972, and had two children, Shawanda and Martin, II. Martin and Olivia were married 47 years and shared a life of commitment and dedication to each other that is legendary among family and friends: When you saw one, you saw the other. They were a team. Everything that they had in life was accomplished together.
In the mid-1980’s, Martin and Olivia moved their family back to Cedar Creek. Martin began yet another career–this time in law enforcement–at the Bastrop Sheriff’s Department where he retired after 15 years. After his retirement, he opened Mr. Brown’s Family Barbeque for several years where he was known for his catfish and banana pudding. He and Olivia continued their work in real estate and began building a housing community on Martin Lane. It didn’t take long for this community, which began as a real estate investment, to become much more than that to them. The many families who lived (and live) on Martin Lane (and other properties) were, and are, their beloved extended family for whom they treasure.
Fun-loving, giving, and full of words of wisdom best describes Martin McDonald “Sonny Boy” Brown, Sr. As a child, and then later after moving back to Texas, Martin attended Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church. And, while living in California he served as a Deacon at St. Peter’s Rock Baptist Church. Martin was instrumental in the lives of family and friends, and we all have numerous stories about the many ways he blessed us by his generosity and words of encouragement.
In 2019, Martin Brown was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Olivia Brown. He leaves to celebrate his life and legacy, one daughter, Shawanda Stewart (husband Antoine), one son, Martin McDonald Brown II, and one Godson, Charles Edward Arrington; he is preceded in death by one daughter, Kirmet Ann Hyder, by three sisters: Jewel Brown, Gladys Madison (husband Harold) and Sophia Williams, by two brothers: Moody Brown, Jr., and Milton Brown (wife Minnie), and by one brother-in-law: Sam Wells, Jr.; he is survived by three brothers-in-law: Elroy Williams, Kelvin Wells (wife Shamikka), and Derrick Wells (wife Tori) and two sisters-in-law: Mattie Merriweather and Patricia Ann Wells-Poland (husband Jerome); Martin has nine grandchildren: Tammy, LaReda, Morgan, Taylor, Allen, William, Martin III, Amari, and Maleah; two great granddaughters, Urasha and Kaleigh; one great grandson, William; nine nieces: Courtney, Diane (predeceased), Rosalind (predeceased), Dominique, Destini, Jewel, Beverly (predeceased), Marilyn, Marcia, and Rochelle (predeceased); six nephews: Chester, Milton (predeceased), Roderick, Maverick, Ernest, and Darrell; and a host of great nephews and nieces and numerous other family members and friends.
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