Cover photo for Ray Bernard Brown, Jr.'s Obituary
Ray Bernard Brown, Jr. Profile Photo
1939 Ray 2022

Ray Bernard Brown, Jr.

March 15, 1939 — September 9, 2022



Ray Bernard Brown, Jr. (Bernie) passed away after a long battle of 15 years with Leukemia Friday, September 9, 2022. He was born the eldest son of Ray and Francis Brown of Cameron West Virginia on March 15, 1939.
Bernard graduated from Cameron High School and obtained a Master’s Degree in Physics at West Virginia University where he was a member of the ROTC and the West Virginia University marching band. After college, he joined the Air Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis leaving honorably as a Capitan. 
Bernard Brown then worked 40 years as a highly respected physicist for the Department of Defense Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC in the field of optical science developing cameras, defense and communication systems, retiring in 2007. During the latter part of his career, Bernard focused on developing the optical technology that is now the basis for the modern high-speed Internet. His work has won a Nobel Prize.  
Survived by Carolyn Culley, his loving wife of 61 years; 2 daughters Elizabeth and Melissa Brown; 4 stepsons Marshall (predeceased), Scott, Kris and Eric Helmick and their families; his younger brother William Allen Brown, wife Sue and family, 9 grandchildren, 5 greatgrandchildren. 


A life of Protection

Hello friends and family. I would like to share a short memoir I jotted down, unedited, a few weeks ago about my father. Yesterday, he passed and is with his parents and the Queen of England in heaven now. I am lost in my thoughts and dreams, and grateful to be his ever loving daughter.  

I'm sure most of us are touched by cancer and other horrible, horrible diseases. Well I'm not a writer but I'm hacking away at this story about my father's experience. I imagine I am so proud of him and want everyone to know what a tremendous life my father has lived literally protecting the world and taking care of everyone around him. And that disease is heartbreaking and unfair because it has robbed him of his core essence—he is not able to protect and take care of others any more. He has rarely let anyone help him do anything his entire life but is so generous helping others. 

My father Bernie Brown had a plan early in life to protect us from the Cold War. He learned Russian in High School, served in the Air Force during Cuban Missal Crisis, Bay of Pigs flying nuclear bombs 24/7 to Russia and back to England while entrusted with the nuclear codes. He then he put himself through college on the GI bill, got a degree in optics/physics and went to work for the DOD where he developed Star Wars, cameras for drones, the communication system for the entire military etc, so smart. Somewhere in there before the Cuban Missal Crisis at age 24 he married my mother who was widowed with 4 young boys—a lot to take care of!!

He once told me he flew over my house "spying" on me while testing his new high definition real time camera that can see shoelaces from space. Always a sense of humor! I got to see him demonstrate his laser—the largest most powerful in the world. He came home from work many times with his tie destroyed full of holes. We always had something going on like holograms and lasers dancing to our records. He took me with him to judge the national science fair. He was a scout master and had tremendous projects organized for the boys. He taught me why the moon looks larger sometimes. He believes in alternate realities. And God. He said, "Don't worry Melissa, if you die you will go on living like normal. You won't even realize you are dead." He has given me so much to think about! He cooked breakfast for all of us every morning and once explained g-force over bacon and eggs before commuting to work in a fighter jet landing on an aircraft carrier.

Suddenly he had to retire because of his health. But he continued to take care of everyone in his life—roofing his parents house, mowing the neighbors lawn, re-pointing the exposed brick wall in my house, fixing Cameron's remote control Speedy McQueen toy car, etc. He researched the disease to kept himself alive to take care of the love of his life—my mom. She has arthritis and has a very hard time getting around and doing things. The two of them have been managing at home with my sister's help. He is on dialysis now with below minimum blood counts.

He has been treated by doctors at Hopkins and recently with a new "miracle pill" that removes cancer from the marrow without a transplant! He was feeling better! We were optimistic! He was optimistic!

He still thinks he's the caretaker of everyone and wants to drive himself to dialysis and be independent. And then he got Covid a couple of weeks ago, stopped eating and now is very, very frail. My mother and sister are overwhelmed. My mom, fingers crossed, has gotten in-home care arranged. My father refuses their help because thinks he can still take care of them. It is not easy to take care of the life long caregiver! They called an ambulance because mom wouldn't let him drive and he wouldn't let someone drive him—a Mexican stand off.

Praying that he shakes Covid off, starts eating gaining back strength so the new "miracle pill" can have more time to work it's magic—and he can resume taking care of all of us again while his inventions continue to protect us from danger such as the recent relapse of the Cold War!

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, October 3, 2022

10:00 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Monday, October 3, 2022

Starts at 11:30 am (Eastern time)

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Graveside Service

Monday, October 3, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery

11301 Crain Hwy, Cheltenham, MD 20623

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