Herman Ernest Brown, better known as Ernest, Ernie or Brownie, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, at the age of 95, just short of his 96th birthday.
He was born Feb. 18, 1923, to Marian Estelle Griggs and James Hillary Brown in Princess Anne County. During World War II, Ernest proudly served our country in the 76th Division, 385th Infantry of Patton’s 3rd Army in the European Theater. After marching across France, he entered combat toward the end of the Battle of the Bulge and experienced the Battle of Bastogne, subsequently battling across the Siegfried line into Germany. The war’s end took him to Antwerp, Belgium, where he would meet Leontine “Tina” Francoise Boydens, who would become his war bride and his devoted wife for almost 73 years.
Ernest was born and grew up on the family farm on Princess Anne Road near to Nimmo United Methodist Church. After World War II, he owned and operated Brown’s Body Shop, where he mended the cars of almost everyone near the Courthouse for years. He built a home in Oceana for his family where they lived until 1961, when they moved to a new home on the Brown family farm. There, he and Tina would live and raise their family until moving to Atlantic Shores/Harbourway Assisted Living in 2017.
After retiring, Ernest engaged in real estate and enjoyed his many outdoor activities. Hunting with his beagles, fishing, golfing, boating, and gardening filled his days, enjoying the outside he loved so dearly. Ernest was a lifelong member of Nimmo United Methodist Church, where his family has attended since 1791.
Left to cherish Ernest’s memory are his wife, Leontine “Tina” Francoise; sister, Mildred Shafer; their daughters and sons-in-law, Linda and Tom Shell, Vonnie and Tom Whitworth and Jennifer and Gene Estes; six grandchildren and their spouses and 11 great-grandchildren. The idea of a “son-in-law” didn’t exist for him. To Ernest, his sons-in-law were his sons. His family life was rich and fulfilling from beginning to end.
The love and devotion between Tina and Ernest inspired anyone who has known them. Their mature love was as rich and golden as the most beautiful song, book or poem.
We would like to thank the staff of Harbourway Assisted Living, Atlantic Shores, for their watchful and loving care for Ernest, making it possible for him and Tina to stay together almost to the end. The family will extend personal thanks as appropriate to individuals who have provided exceptional care.
A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, at H.D. Oliver Funeral Home, 2002 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach. A celebration of his life and graveside burial will be conducted at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, at Nimmo United Methodist Church, 2200 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, to be conducted by Pastor Brandon Gilmore.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Nimmo United Methodist Church in support of that congregation’s current Capital Campaign or to a local Beagle Rescue organization.
Share online condolences with the family at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.