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Marie Nock

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Dr. Bartley Frank Brown

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Bartley Frank Brown
Melbourne, FL

Dr. B. Frank Brown died at home following a brief illness on Saturday, November 1, 2014. He was born in Dublin, GA and until his death at 97, remained active and deeply involved with his family and his many friends. After service in the Navy in WWII, Dr. Brown moved with his family to Florida to complete his advanced degrees. He became principal of Melbourne High School in 1953 and then served as Superintendent of Brevard County Schools and an educational consultant to the Kettering Foundation, the US Department of Defense Dependent Schools, and multiple Florida governors.

Dr. Brown was also a Fulbright Scholar and a life-long avid gardener.

During his 15 years at Melbourne High School, Dr. Brown replaced the traditional 'lock-step' curriculum with a non-graded program, and was interviewed by Walter Cronkite and featured in Time Magazine for his innovative and visionary educational concepts which benefited students of all abilities. While Mel-Hi was proudly known as a school whose library was larger than its gymnasium and as the first high school to offer Chinese as part of the curriculum. Dr. Brown was equally supportive of the non-traditional student. A former graduate once wrote Dr. Brown that he would never have graduated if Dr. Brown had not allowed him to earn his diploma by learning the names of all the plants on the campus.

Deeply passionate and irrepressibly curious about learning, Dr. Brown wrote six books on education, and in 2007, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, Melbourne High School named its Science and Research Center in his honor.

Upon his retirement from the school system, Dr. Brown traveled extensively to the jungles of SE Asia collecting exotic plants. Dr. Brown hybridized and patented over 20 aglaonemas and shared his knowledge in lectures and in authoring three books, including the first book ever written on crotons. With the assistance of Cleo Milare, his dear friend and nursery manager, Dr. Brown opened his Valkaria Gardens to the public and in 2012, he received a life award from The International Aroid Society.

Dr. Brown is survived by his daughters, B.J. Freeman and Cassandra (Al) Evans, six grandchildren, Kate, Robin, Louis, Stuart, Sterling, and Catherine, and one great-grandchild, Annie Ruth. He loved to sing to his daughters and never missed a chance to burst enthusiastically into song. The exuberant refrain he always sang upon heading out the door - We're off to see the Wizard - seems a fitting epitaph for the final journey of this most remarkable and unforgettable man.

Private services will be held in Dublin and in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Community Foundation for Brevard, designated for the B. Frank Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund. This Fund will sustain Dr. Brown's lifelong commitment to education by benefiting Melbourne High School students seeking a college education and by providing cutting edge equipment and technology for the Science and Research Center.

Funeral Home Brownlie-Maxwell Funeral Home
1010 Palmetto Avenue Melbourne, FL 32901
What a rich long life and career. How fitting that we all got together for a croton gathering on Sat. RIP Dr. Brown.
I am deeply saddened with the loss of a great friend. I first met B. Frank almost 20 years ago and often talked with him throughout the years. He was a true plantsman, and often had a great plant story to share. I will miss you my friend.....
A life well lived, Dr. Brown touched so many lives in some many ways. Best wishes to the family.
Never got to meet Dr Brown, but I felt I knew him through his works. Best wishes to the family.