Army Brats, Byron Brown Remembered
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 5:30PM

In the early morning hours of November 4th, Byron Brown lost his life in a single car accident on his way to the Impossible 5K in Kennesaw.  It was a shock to his family and his running friends.  Byron was always a joy to see at races we timed or that we ran in.  The last time I spoke with Byron, we discussed his military career and of course running.  It was always a joy to see him pull up to a race with Ernie or Anne or Don.  When Rhonda and I first started running, we often referred to Byron and Ernie as Burt and Ernie.  Byron seemed to be the Abbott to Ernie’s Costellow.   I am sure Will is setting up the finish line, Jim Rasnake is the first one there and Byron is pulling up a few minutes before the start.  Below is an article written by “Bob Slowpants” in 2007 which was placed on Georgia Runner.  Bob has given us permission to repost on the Classic Race Services site.

Army Brats by Bob Slowpants   

Byron Brown has been a fixture on the running circuit since Michael Selman remarked to him that he was in the top ten in his age group in some ranking of racers, but he could not remember exactly what it was.  Byron became a runner while serving in the Army and began to chronicle the number of races he had participated in since 17 March 1978 (1535 to be exact,  as of 28 July 07).  Marylyn Brown has been in the top ten for her age group (presently women 60-64) for the previous five years.

Both Byron and Marylyn were destined to become inseparable.  Both Army brats to start, Byron was born in Aurora, Colorado, but grew up in Texas, Germany, Japan,   Ohio, and the Washington, DC area.  Byron’s father was a career Army officer who was scheduled to rotate to Pakistan when he elected to retire.  Byron had planned on attending the American University in Pakistan but was left scrambling for a college with his father’s decision to retire from active duty.

Marylyn likewise moved during her childhood and teenage years from New Mexico to West Point, New York; Germany; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; and finally the tri-cities area of east Tennessee near Johnson City.  Marylyn attended Science Hill High School and was selected valedictorian, while classmate Steve Spurrier (known as the “Evil Genius” to UGA fans) was selected as the most athletic class member.  Steve still resents that Marylyn chose Byron over him!

Byron decided on short notice to attend East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, where he sat behind Marylyn in their freshman English class.  East Tennessee State required that students, when freshmen, sit in alphabetic order;  thus Byron meeting Marylyn several times a week was ordained by the Board of Regents of the State of Tennessee.  Both excelled with academics and Byron enrolled in the university ROTC program. Upon graduation, Byron entered the fast track to become a Ranger and Airborne-qualified infantry officer and headed across the pond to sunny Vietnam.  Byron contacted Marylyn for a casual date while on leave enroute to Vietnam.  They dated for a month before Byron deployed then became engaged when Byron had an R & R from his duties with the Ninth Infantry Division at mid-tour.  They were married six months later when he returned to be stationed in Hawaii. 

Byron’s Army career spanned stations of duty at Fort Sheridan, Illinois (where Byron acquired his pilot’s license); Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and finally Fort McPherson in Atlanta.  Marylyn had a successful career in banking information technology. After retiring from Bank of America, she reentered the work force with Equifax.  Byron’s extensive active duty background in counter intelligence and security (dual branch qualified in Infantry and Intelligence) resulted in his selection to be the director of security for the Jewish Community Centers in the Atlanta area, effective 1 September 2007.     

They have resided in Norcross since September, 1988, that was when Byron was assigned to the Third Army at Fort McPherson.  Both being Mensa and an opportunist, Byron utilized the GI Bill while on active duty to acquire three masters degrees (an MBA in Marketing from the University of Florida, a Masters of Science in Health Care Administration and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville) in residence between tours.  Marylyn acquired an MBA in Management from the University of North Florida to counter Byron. 

Byron routinely participates in about one hundred races annually.  Byron and Marylyn are active members of the St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church of Dunwoody and are pet-friendly.  Byron’s second circle of friends beyond church is the running family.

Byron, we will miss you.  Thank you for being a light in all our lives.

Article originally appeared on Black Bag Race Series (
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