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1929 William J. Brown 2023

William J. Brown

February 15, 1929 — July 29, 2023

Raytown, Missouri

William Jennings Brown, 94 years old of Raytown, Missouri, went to his heavenly home on Saturday, July 29, 2023.  He was born February 15, 1929 in St. Mary, Missouri.

Preceded in death by:
Father, Jennings Brown; Mother, Flora Mae (Roth) Brown; Brother, Arnold “Tom” (Mary) Brown; Brother, Ray V. (Susie) Brown; Sister, Beulah Mae (Terry) Wingerter; Sister-in-law, Dorothy Brown; Sister-in-law, Sonja Brown; Grandson, William Benjamin “Ben” Brown; Nephews, Frankie and Jeff Wingerter; Son-in-law, Bruce Puryear; second wife, Jimmie Lou Brown.

Survived by:
Wife, Wanda Brown; Children (with first wife, Jerry Parks), Vicki Puryear; Debbie (Gus) Christakis; Scott (Mary) Brown; Brothers, Charlie Brown and Burton Brown; Grandchildren, Luke (Jennifer) Ozment; Kristin Christakis; Dakota (Amanda) Puryear, Nick Christakis, Rose Brown, Isaac Brown and Lily Brown; Great Grandchildren, Will Ozment, Gracyn Ozment, Kaytleigh Puryear, Krysti Puryear and Kroy Puryear; Step-son, Brad Dunlevy; Step-daughter, Allison (Richard) Werremeyer, Step-grandchildren, Noah, Micah and Sarah Werremeyer.

Bill grew up on the family farm in St. Mary, Missouri.  He began his education at “Independence” the local one room schoolhouse but managed to flunk his first year of kindergarten.  Although Bill stuck to his story that he was held back because he was too young.  He graduated high school in 1947.  While working on the farm with his Dad he was approached by a man from a neighboring community offering an 8 month teaching job at Brushy School, just 4 miles from the family farm.  He passed the county test and received a one-year certificate to teach.  This was the beginning of his interest in teaching - according to Bill, “The truth is, the thought of teaching had never even crossed my mind - neither in thoughtful discussions about my future, nor in my wildest dreams.”  Bill worked many odd jobs to pay his way through school and graduated with no debt.  He completed Junior college in Arkansas and in 1954 obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Missouri Teaching Certificate from William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri.  He then taught 5th grade at Liberty Elementary and was the first male teacher in that school. In 1955 he began his 34-year career in Raytown School District #2.  He taught at several Elementary schools, was the first kindergarten principal in the district and became Vice Principal at Raytown South Junior High.  In 1961 he was appointed principal of Chapel Elementary and remained there until it closed in 1981.  He finished his career at Laurel Hills Elementary (1981 - 1989).  He continued he own education by obtaining a Masters Degree (1958) and later a Specialists Degree from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri.

Bill was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Raytown for over 50 years.  He was a deacon, a Sunday School teacher, was involved in the youth ministry and volunteered for various other programs and committees.  In 2007, he and his wife (Wanda) joined Abundant Life Church in Lee’s Summit, where they remain members.

Bill was loved and respected by family, friends, endless students and teachers in the community.  He was an exceptional father, grandfather, great grandfather, husband, brother, uncle and friend. His gentle soul, witty character and loving spirit will be missed by all who knew him.

Services at Park Lawn Funeral Home, 8251 Hillcrest Road, Kansas City, Missouri.  Visitation from 11am to 1pm, followed by the Memorial Service at 1pm.

Immediately following, there will be a graveside service at Forest Hills Cemetery, 7100 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri.

The family is inviting all who knew and loved Mr. Brown to join in a celebration of his life at Connection Point Church, 10500 E. State Route 350, Raytown, Missouri on Friday, August 4, 2023 from 5pm to 8pm in the Atrium.  Please bring your favorite covered dish and your stories about Mr. Brown.  We’ll share a meal and our memories of a life well lived. Drinks will be provided.  We hope to see you there.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Raytown Quality Schools, Attn: Communications Dept., 6608 Raytown Road, Raytown, MO 64133.  The donations will go to help pay for school lunches, after school tuition or where most needed.  Our Dad’s passion for over 30 years was the elementary students of Raytown, Missouri.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William J. Brown, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, August 4, 2023

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, August 4, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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Friday, August 4, 2023

2:00 - 2:30 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Gathering

Friday, August 4, 2023

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Please enter at the ROC Entrance off 75th St. on the Northeast side of the church.

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