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Ole Miss Football Legend Ray Brown Passes Away at 82

Raymond L. Brown, age 82, of Pascagoula and Gautier, Mississippi, passed away unexpectedly on a walk on the trails of his property with his beloved dog Bebe, work gloves on.

He was looking forward to being inducted into the inaugural class of the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame in New Orleans next week on New Years Day 2018.
He was born in Clarksdale in 1936 and spent his early years in Greenville, Mississippi. He was preceded in death by his father, Russell L. Brown and his mother, Agnes Brown Mason, and by his wife of 58 years, Carolyn “Lyn” Shoemaker Brown. He is survived by his daughter, Allison Brown Buchanan (Patrick), of Biloxi, son, Raymond L. Brown, Jr. (Virginia Mary), of Houston, Texas, Beverly Brown Dees (Hale), of Ocean Springs, and eight grandchildren, Hawtin and Frances Buchanan; Raymond, III, Thompson, Patrick and Walker Brown; and Wesley and Sydney Fontaine. He leaves two brothers, Jerry Russell Brown and Donald Hays Brown of Greenville, and a sister, Sally Rebecca (Beki) Brown Morgan, Montgomery, Alabama.
Raymond graduated from Greenville High School, where he was a student leader and four-sport athlete, served as president of the student council, QB and captain of a state championship football team, was most valuable player in the former Big 8 conference, and was first-team high school All-American. He played in the high school All-American game in 1954.
He attended Ole Miss on a football scholarship, where he was a student leader and played both football and baseball. He was President of the Business School, was on three football bowl teams, and on a college world-series baseball team at Ole Miss. He was All-SEC in football, having led the SEC in passing in 1956 and in total offense in 1957. He was the Most Valuable Player in the 1958 Sugar Bowl. His 92-yard touchdown run still stands as the longest run in Sugar Bowl history. He then played in the Senior Bowl and in the College All-Star Game, which is no longer played. The College All-Stars defeated the NFL champion Detroit Lions in that game.

Ray Brown – Photo courtesy of AllstateSugarBowl.org

At Ole Miss, he was affiliated with Sigma Chi social fraternity, of which he was an officer, and was selected for Omicron Delta Kappa, a scholarship-leadership society.
Achieving a business degree (BBA) from Ole Miss, he then attended both Ole Miss and Maryland law schools, earning a law degree from Ole Miss. In law school, he was inducted into Phi Delta Phi honorary fraternity and earned the honor of writing for the law journal. While earning his law degree, he played three years of professional football with the Baltimore Colts, attending, alternately, the Ole Miss and Maryland law schools. He was a member of two NFL championship teams, playing as starting defensive back and punter in the famous sudden death1958 championship game against the NY Giants in Yankee Stadium in New York City, which is called the Greatest Game Ever Played. In addition to his defensive and punting roles, he was an alternate at quarterback for the great Johnny Unitas.
Finishing law school after professional football, he earned a law clerkship at the United States Supreme Court, where he clerked for Justice Tom Clark.
He was active and a leader in the community and in his profession. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Pascagoula, where he served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, among other positions. He served as Chairman of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, of which he was a Board member for many years, President of Pascagoula Rotary and President of the Jaycees. In 1964 he was Young Man of the Year in Pascagoula. He was the attorney for the Pascagoula Municipal School District for thirty years and was a local board member of the Hancock Bank. After moving to Gautier, he served on the Gautier Historic Preservation Commission.
His professional leadership included President of the Mississippi Bar, Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, which he served as State Chair and as a Regent (national Board member), representing the Fellows of four states, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas for four years. He was recognized with Lifetime Achievement awards by both the Mississippi Bar and the Mississippi Defense Lawyers.
Mr. Brown served as President of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and President of the Ole Miss Law Alumni.
He believed strongly in the United States Constitution, and often spoke to civic clubs and other organizations to encourage knowledge of and support for our Constitution.
An instrument-rated pilot, he flew his own plane on business and to many Ole Miss football games.
His many honors include induction into several Halls of Fame. His student leadership at Ole Miss was recognized by his induction into the Ole Miss Student Hall of Fame; his service to Ole Miss, by his induction into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame; his professional career, by induction into the University of Mississippi Law Alumni Hall of Fame; and his athletic career, by his induction into the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame, and, in 2007, the 12-person Wall Street Journal Lawyer-football Hall of Fame, along with Justice Byron White, Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and President Gerald Ford.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes consideration of memorials to the University of Mississippi Raymond L. Brown Scholarship in Law, c/o University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or First United Methodist Church, PO Box 371, Pascagoula, MS 39568

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