William Morris Brown, Jr., was born January 9, 1914 in Runge, Texas, the first of six children to Hettie Linder and William Brown, Sr. His family moved to Kenedy, Texas and bought a farm, where William grew up.
He was a hardworking, popular young man and very handsome, but above all he was always kind to others and possessed humility. He learned to use guns at an early age and was extreme about people using guns safely.
His younger brother was shot in the head accidently at fifteen and lived 3 months. William never got over his loss and mentioned it throughout his life.
By this time, he was fondly known as “Mootsey,” and was quarterback for Kenedy High School. When the team was going to finals, “Mootsey,” out on a hunting trip, was shot in the foot by a careless man, which cost them the Championship, as they had no replacement. William was known as the “Galloping Ghost”- even at his death, they gathered in Kenedy to talk about him and his exemplary life. He lived during the Depression like many of our families and worked for a dollar a day in the oil fields.
He graduated and went to the bank for a loan but, although well-liked, he had no collateral, so he walked to College Station. He attended Allen Academy and then Texas A&M, where he graduated in 1940.
Meanwhile, he married his high school sweetheart at A & M with a military wedding. Her name was Ernestine Bain-everyone called her “Son.” The two of them went to California after William was indoctrinated into the Army. When “Son” got pregnant, she insisted on going home to Texas, but William had a very bad case of pneumonia and had to stay in California. He got home when their baby girl was a few months old. In Kenedy, he was named Commander of the 1st CCC Camp in the region. The CCC Camps were set up by FDR to assist men in jobs after the Great Depression.
Shortly thereafter, the family went to Minnesota and then William left on a troop ship for Europe. Pearl Harbor had shocked and saddened the Nation, and FDR had declared war on Japan. William was sent to England and was there during the blitz.
He spoke very little about the intimate detains of the war but did say how courageous the English were, how they sent their children to the country for safety, how when he and friends came out on the street after eating one night two of them went one way and the other two, the other-the bombs were being dropped and William saw his two friends blown to pieces. No wonder he didn’t talk much about the war!
William also served in Egypt against Rommel, “The Desert Fox.” He often said that had Hitler had the strategic general of all time command, we might not be here today, but then Hitler was not wise and wanted to decide all on his own.
After World War II ended, William came home, went to Harvard, and received his Masters Degree in Business Administration, then served in the Pentagon twice. He went to Korea, having changed branches of the service to the Air Force, and was promoted to Full Colonel. When he came home was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base and was the first Chief of Staff. By now the US were in the Cold War with Russia and they had escape routes to the caves outside base.
Here the pilots tested planes like the X-15, and the astronauts had their beginnings. William also won the U.S. Master Championship in Shooting. He taught his grandson William to shoot and shoot safely and well. His grandson, named after him, was like the son he never had. William, his grandson, graduated with honors at A&M, but received his diploma posthumously after being killed in a freak accident. After all William Morris Brown Jr. had been through, a part of him died with his grandson, of whom he was so proud. They are buried in the Blanco Cemetery across from each other.
William Jr. died in 2002. As a devout Christian, he loved and fought for his Country of which he was so proud, so that you and I can be free today. His generation was called the “Great Generation” and since I have known six, I would have to agree. I’m glad they can’t see our Country today - they deserved better.
Diane Bane Brown, daughter of William Morris Brown, Jr., presented the flag in his honor; this flag flies daily over the cemetery except in inclement weather.
This is a fitting tribute to a man who was destined to have an honorary funeral in Arlington Cemetery, but loved Blanco and Texas and chose to be buried here with his family and friends. He leaves his daughter, three grand-children, Laura Bain McClinton, Linda L. Hostetler and Kenneth A. Hostetler, of whom he was very proud. He also leaves four great-grand children, Ashley Bain Haenel, William Travis McClinton, Leslie McClinton, and Jamie McClinton. It might be noted that he is the only Full Colonel buried in the Blanco Cemetery.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the directors and helpers for making this cemetery one we can all be proud of,” said Diane Hostetler.