Merrell Eugene “Gene” Brown, of Fort Walton Beach, FL, passed away on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at the age of 88.Gene was born in Kingstree, South Carolina to David and Lucy Brown and spent the first 30 years of his life carrying on the family tradition of farming. His love of flying was born there. He obtained his private pilot’s license and first airplane in South Carolina and enjoyed more than 40 years of piloting many trips, family vacations, and scenic afternoons in the air. Gene moved his family to Florida in 1966 and lived the life of an entrepreneur. Over the last 50 plus years in Florida, he opened equipment rental businesses, dabbled in real estate sales and later real estate development.
After obtaining his Florida building contractor’s license and roofer’s license, he built many commercial and residential buildings in the greater Fort Walton Beach area including the FedEx building and Emerald Coast Collision Repair. In his later years, he enjoyed square dancing and frequenting the Panhandle Opry with his wife Regena, through which they formed some deep and lasting friendships. Westminster Presbyterian Church was their church family home for over 54 years. Gene served as a deacon and faithfully enjoyed fellowship at the men’s “Carpenter’s Apprentice” early morning Bible study.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years Regena, daughters, Genie Williams, Merri (Mike) Ward and Janice Brown; former son-in-law, Jeff Williams; 9 grandchildren, Jordan (Katie) Williams, Drew (Rebecca) Williams, Kyle (Lela) Ward, Kaley (Mike) Walls, Joshua Barrett, Alaina Barrett, Caleb Barrett, Nicolas Hatfield, Brendan Hatfield; 9 great-grandchildren, Harper Williams, Chance Williams, Noah Williams, Legend Ward, Elizabeth Walls, Claire Walls, Ashton Barrett, Levi Barrett and Aidan Price. Gene will always be remembered for his sweet smile, sense of humor and love for his family.
Please join us in honoring Gene at the funeral service, which will be held live online Friday, November 20, 2020 at 11:00 AM at www.wpc-pca.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church Missions, 2 Woodham Avenue, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547.
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