Brown, William A. “Brownie”

Rank: Major
Biography: William Brown (“Brownie”) was a surveyor as a young man on the west coast of British Columbia. He joined the army in 1915 and served in WW I for 4 years. While overseas he met and married Melanie Grandsard, who was a refugee from Belgium, on June 20, 1918 in London, England. In 1919 William journeyed to Sexsmith AB since William’s father, (Paul Brown) had filed on a half section of land for him by proxy. His bride, Melanie, arrived in August that year, and they tried their best at farming. Brownie decided to teach school in 1921 in the new North Sexsmith School, and was also the secretary-treasurer for the school district. He also taught in Hythe in the new Annellen School, living in a log house behind the school. In 1923 the Browns returned to their farm and raised turkeys, chickens and pigs, and put an addition on their house. They had two children: Cecil and Delphine. Sadly, in 1924 the house burned and everything was lost. Neighbors helped in many ways, but life was not the same, so the family moved into the village of Sexsmith where Brownie started an insurance and real estate business. When WW II broke out, Brownie enlisted again, in the fall of 1940. He was a lieutenant stationed west of Calgary, and while on a 14 day leave to Sexsmith, in May of 1941, he recruited and interviewed anyone wishing to join the service at the Grande Prairie Training Centre. Brownie was fit and enjoyed the army life, later becoming a Major, and he was discharged in 1947. In November of that year, the Browns started a ladies’ and men’s wear business in Sexsmith which they moved to Manning three years later. Brownie was the mayor of Manning for 8 ½ years, president of the Legion Branch No. 137 (later being made a life member of the Legion), and chairman of the Manning Municipal Hospital Board for several years. In 1968 Melanie and Brownie retired to Grande Prairie and enjoyed the Old Timers’ Association. William died on February 7, 1977, and Melanie passed away on October 14, 1977.
Source: Wagon Trails Grown Over pp. 408 – 410. P. 1147 – name listed in Roll of Honour
The Herald Tribune May 1, 1941 p. 1 c.6