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Harold M. Brown

March 18, 1920 January 18, 2020
Harold M. Brown
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Obituary for Harold M. Brown

Harold M. Brown Jr. of Rochester Hills died peacefully, January 18, 2020. He was 99 years old. Harold was born March 18, 1920 to Gladys (nee Baldwin) and Harold M. Brown.

Harold grew up in Royal Oak during the Great Depression, never realizing his family was “poor”. The stories of his childhood often related how they made their own toys or shared one bicycle and taped up baseball with the whole neighborhood.

His first “real” job was as a “coal passer” on the great lakes ore boats, starting in 1939. As a result of World War II he would remain on the lakes for seven years because it was a critical industry to the war effort. He enlisted in the Merchant Marines and worked his way up to Lieutenant. Reportedly becoming the youngest officer on the lakes at the time.

Harold was a natural salesman and story teller, which lead to a very successful career in sales. He was the top salesman in the U. S. for his company many times.
He was a history buff and would go on write his memoirs along with documenting the history of our family cottages in Northern Michigan and Canada. He contributed many facts to the Royal Oak Historical Society, being one of the oldest surviving residents.

Harold loved sports especially skiing. He skied throughout the US with his friends and family. One of his favorite things was an annual ski trip out west which he continued to make well into his 80’s.

A proud University of Michigan alumni, class of 1949, Harold was a member of several clubs and organizations including: Past President – Royal Oak Lions Club,
Leader Dogs for the Blind Founders Tribute when he was in his late 90’s, International Ship Masters Association, and Birmingham Senior Men’s Club. He was also a Birmingham Little League Coach and Umpire.

Another of Harold’s passions was the environment. He was a long time member of the National Wildlife Foundation and contributed to many environmental causes. He helped lead the effort to preserve over 700 acres of lakefront and forest land on Lake Louise in Northern Michigan – the location of our family cottage where Harold and Hilka spent their retirement years.

A couple of Harold’s favorite quotes were: “If you don’t have time to do a job right, when will you have time to do it over?” and “Everything in moderation”.
His long life was the result of a positive attitude and clean living. He never spoke ill of anyone and was a fun-loving man. A great story teller and a very generous man, Harold helped put his children and grandchildren through college.


Harold was admired by all who knew him. He was very comfortable with the roll of family patriarch and was often the life of the party where he would “hold court” telling stories and relating facts about his long life. He led an exemplary life and was a hero to his family.

Harold loved his wife of 71 years, Hilka, and his family more than anything.

Harold is survived by his children, Eric (Lynn) Brown and Susan Lardie and grandchildren, Isaac (Helen) Brown, Kristofer Brown, Benjamin (Rita) Brown, Alan Lardie, April Lardie, and Austin Lardie. He is also survived by his step-grandchildren, Jessica (Matt) Glomp and Melissa Mariin and great-grandchildren, Alden and Adeline Brown. Harold is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Hilka and siblings, Ronald Brown, Eleanor Shiko, and Marjorie Miller.

A Memorial Service will be held at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3633 W. Big Beaver in Troy, Saturday, February 8th at 1pm.

Memorials appreciated to Leader Dogs for the Blind, 1039 S Rochester Rd, Rochester Hills, Michigan 48307.

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