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Dr. Bartley Frank Brown


Obituary
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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
, 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

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Jeff Searle

A very personal friend that I was honored to know for nearly 20 years. I will always remember the visits to his garden and times we spent together. RIP B. Frank.

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Eric in Orlando

Very sad to read this. Dr. Brown was a great guy.

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The Silent Seed

Never knew of him - but he obviously was a gem.

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Rafael

Condolences to his family.

Anyone can tell me if he was in Thailand's Biennial in 2012?

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Really full garden

His book on cordylines was an inspiration to me .I never knew there were so many. I also have a cordyline named for Dr.Brown.It has always been one of my favorites.

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Josh-O

it's always sad to here of a fellow palm enthusiasts passing

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Jeff Searle

Raphael....no, he did not attend the biennial.

Josh.......he was not a palm person. He wrote several books and papers, including 2 books on crotons, a book on cordylines and one on Aglaonemas. He has many patents and was very well traveled, especially to the Philippines.

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Josh-O

Jeff, thanks for the correction :greenthumb:

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Rafael

Raphael....no, he did not attend the biennial.

Josh.......he was not a palm person. He wrote several books and papers, including 2 books on crotons, a book on cordylines and one on Aglaonemas. He has many patents and was very well traveled, especially to the Philippines.

Thank you Jeff, his face was somehow familiar to me...

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Jeff Searle

I often made visits up to see Frank and spend as much time as possible as I enjoyed his company and his many interesting stories that he shared. And quite often I would try to get Frank interested in palms to add to his garden, and at times I would bring him ones at no charge. Most times he would politely decline and I would jokingly insist that he needed more to blend in with all his colorful crotons. He was the last of the old timers, and a true legend!

He is so missed.......

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Central Floridave

Bummer. Rest In Peace. I imagine Dr.Brown is currently planting a jungle in heaven now!

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SubTropicRay

I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions. His 1960 croton book was the first of its kind. As Jeff already said, he was a consummate plant pioneer that will be greatly missed.

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heliconias

You'll be missed Dr Brown!

Edited by heliconias

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exoticatropicals

Rest in Peace Dr. Brown- he was a great guy, and very friendly / personable. Made you feel right at home and loved to talk about plants.

Cordyline fruticosa 'Dr. Brown' is a real beauty too- get one if you can! I'm starting to see more of them around lately, so Dr. Brown may still be with us for some time yet..

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Moose

I often made visits up to see Frank and spend as much time as possible as I enjoyed his company and his many interesting stories that he shared. And quite often I would try to get Frank interested in palms to add to his garden, and at times I would bring him ones at no charge. Most times he would politely decline and I would jokingly insist that he needed more to blend in with all his colorful crotons. He was the last of the old timers, and a true legend!

He is so missed.......

Jeff kindly invited me on a road trip to visit Dr. Brown back in 2010. This was just after a horrible cold spell that lingered for a long time. Dr. Brown's garden had experienced some lows that put a devastating hurting on his plants. His garden guy had gone to visit relatives out of country and was not permitted to return. Cleo was so busy with all the damage at his nursery, he was overwhelmed and there was no time to help Dr. Brown. He told us to grab all the croton cuttings we could since their survival was precarious at best . Most everything were dead sticks. Some cuttings were nursed to health and I was fortunate enough to get some. They were shared equally among those who visited Dr. Brown that day.

Proudly part of Dr. Brown's collection is thriving in my garden. I immediately think of him whenever I walk by one of his plants. A small portion of his legacy lives on here in South Florida.

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This is one of his plants, a large leaved variety called Fascination

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Moose

Another croton from Dr. Brown's garden ... Potters Pink Veitchii

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Jeff Searle

Ron,

Great memories! There's lots of plants that over the years have come from B. Frank and that are now planted in our gardens.

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