Brown Family Reunion

Brown Family Motto: Like branches on a tree we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.

Six living generations of the Browns met in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, for a three-day family reunion. The oldest member was 95-year-old Lena Simmons from Greenville, South Carolina, and the youngest was one-year-old Shane Lee of Kansas City, Missouri. This was the first reunion they’d ever held in Kansas City and members came from Florida, Louisiana, Texas, California, Colorado and South Carolina. Out of town family began arriving on Thursday and were welcomed with a buffet of snacks and finger foods in the hotel dining area. 

Juanita Lewis, Jessie Lee Brown and Doris Manning seated in lobby of Negro League Baseball and Jazz Museums in Kansas City, Missouri.
Juanita Lewis, Jessie Lee Brown and Doris Manning seated in lobby of Negro League Baseball and Jazz Museums in Kansas City, Missouri.

Friday morning many gathered at Kansas City, Missouri’s historic 18th and Vine District for a guided, narrated tour of the Negro League Baseball and American Jazz Museums. The baseball museum contains rich history of African American baseball with life-sized bronze sculptures of Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson positioned on a mock baseball diamond.  

The American Jazz Museum showcases sights and sounds of Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and others through interactive exhibitions. art and photography.  A good time was had by all.

Luther Eatman, pastor of Bridge of Hope Community Church in Kansas City, Kansas.
Luther Eatman, pastor of Bridge of Hope Community Church in Kansas City, Kansas.

Friday evening the family enjoyed a meal and fellowship at the Kansas City, Missouri, Masonic Temple where the banquet speaker was a family minister, Luther Eatman. He spoke on our theme “The Branches of our Heritage Continue to Grow.”  He left us with the reminder that parents cannot always impose their ideas and expectations on their children. Parents should lead by example and pray their children will make good and healthy life choices.  Legacy awards were given to honor family members who have passed on – J. B. Military Legacy, Rose’s Heart of Gold Legacy, George’s Leadership Legacy, Pauline’s Kitchen Legacy, Jason Epps Athletic Legacy and the Legacy of Excellence award (see below).  

The picnic on Saturday was held at the Wyandotte County Park in Bonner Springs, Kansas. The family enjoyed food, games and taking scenic pictures amid the cool breeze of the shelter house.  A drawing was held for two baskets: a barbecue basket filled with some of Kansas City’s great sauces and a spice basket filled with cooking spices.

spice basket

Members attended church on Sunday and enjoyed fish and spaghetti in the church dining room after the service.  The last members departed on Monday morning.  The next reunion is planned for Las Vegas, NV in two years.


[stextbox]Brown Family Legacy Awards

In 2017 the host family in Texas gave birth to the idea of legacy awards in memory of those who had passed away but whose legacy was remembered and exemplified by family members now following in their footsteps.  

  1. The (name of deceased person) Bravery Award– to (name of nominee) for exemplary courage while serving in the United States Armed Services or state or city civil services.
  2. The (name of deceased person) Heart of Gold Award– to (name of nominee) for having a caring heart and giving tirelessly for the well-being of others.
  3. The (name of deceased person) Leadership Award – to (name of nominee) for portraying excellence whether in leadership and conversation or word and song.
  4. The (name of deceased person) Kitchen Award – to (name of nominee) for knowing their way around the kitchen and “how to put their foot in it” with delectable entrees and delightful pastries.
  5. The (name of deceased person) Outstanding Athlete Award – to (name of nominee) for those with endowment and dedication, whose talents are crafted and remarkable and who illustrate good sportsmanship both on and off the court or field.
  6. The (name of the deceased person) Legacy of Excellence Award– to young adults who respect the family name, honor the history and who can be trusted to carry on the family legacy with dignity.

Nominations were submitted in advance to allow time for each person’s award to be printed for presentation at the dinner.[/stextbox]


Reported by Gertrude Roby, Kansas City, Kansas.

Photos from My Tees Photos, Kansas City, Kansas, and James Leonard Sibley. Montgomery, Texas