William Brown
William Brown
William Brown

Obituary of William M Brown

William Michael Brown l, of Cohoes, New York, one of the best letter carriers that city had ever seen, a teller of tales and history, experienced bar hopper and the very best Dad ever, died on July 21, 2021, in his home in Fort Pierce, FL at the age of 95 years, 8 months, 26 days.

 

Bill, the youngest of four siblings, was born on October 25, 1925, in the front bedroom of the second floor flat at 9 Jay Street, as the high mass chimes from the carillon at St Agnes Catholic Church made their joyful sounds.  Named William Michael, in part to honor his Uncle Bill Smith and his brother, Cohoes' illustrious Mike T. Smith.  Bill, a talented storyteller, wove vivid images of growing up in the 30s and 40s in the booming mill city of Cohoes New York.

 

Bill was so captivated by the tales of military escapades told by his brother’s friends, who serviced in Company B, he proudly joined the US Army – 1st Infantry Division – The Big Red One!  He served in Europe, and at one point guarded the WWII War Prisoners, although being smaller in statue it was behind the scenes, as only the 6 ft and taller soldiers were assigned to times where the prisoners were brought to trial.

On July 28,1949, he married Mary Margaret Andrews of Bunker Hill at St Patrick’s Church in Cohoes.  It was said that all the other young men cried that day, as Mary was truly “Chantilly Lace in Shanty Town”.  They promptly jumped a train and traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, so that he could attend trade school.  Their oldest son was born there at Sloops Memorial Hospital for the cost of one US dollar because he was a veteran, and even that was promptly refunded to him to cover the cost of the taxi.  A few months later they made their way back to Cohoes, via Washington DC. Once home they took up residence on “McDonough Hill” (Conduit St).  

Bill worked in several Cohoes companies, as well as maintenance at the City Hall.  Eventually, Bill joined the Cohoes Post Office and become a letter carrier, quite possibly the best ever in the whole city.

Bill delivered on every route in the city, except for the rural route.  He would rather walk and some of his youngest daughter’s most treasured memories are of walking the island route with him.  Back at that time there was a bar or a club on most corners and churches on the rest.  There was one particular young man, who lived on the island, who called Bill, “Mr. Mailbox” which just tickled him pink!  At a time when most letter carriers used mace to ward off dog attacks, Bill carried dog biscuits and made friends with every dog, stray or not, that he encountered.  Most evenings as he made his way home, he would be followed by at least one dog and often a half dozen or more!  The Cohoes Post Office was a family and Bill was most definitely part of the glue.

Bill was loved by everyone he encountered, and many called him Uncle Bill, Brownie or Pops.  He was a member of every club in the city, and in later years was often found at the Cohoes Rod & Gun, the PAA or an American Legion Post (usually post 476 or 91).  Bill had a wonderful singing voice and often entertained friends and family with a song or two, sometimes a heartfelt Irish ballad, others a lively (and sometimes randy) bar tune.  Many songs are still sung by his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Bill was an avid reader, he loved a good murder mystery, war novel or true story.  His DVD collection was diverse, but it was the John Wayne, Tarzan, Westerns and Shirley Temple movies he would go back to time after time.

Bill retired from the Post Office February 1, 1985, and later worked tax seasons for the State of New York and as a Security Guard at the Anna Lee and Albany County nursing homes.  When his wife took sick, he stuck close to home and cared for her.  He built beautiful furniture and cute rocking horses for his grand kids.  He was always busy yet would make time to belly up to the bar, drink a pint or two and talk story with friends, new and old. Bill was a Boston Red Sox fan, enjoyed the flat track at Saratoga, Nascar & football cards, a cold ale, a Churchill cigar, and playing his numbers.  A lot changed during Bill’s lifetime, from the Golden Age of Radio all the way through his love of Netflix and the internet!  Bill even was known to go “Facebook live” from time to time!

 

In recent years he became interested in tracing his genealogy, thru Anestry.com and his DNA he connected with several cousins and discovered how large his family likely is with close to 100k matches on his DNA!

 

For all of Bill’s success in life, his crowning achievement was the purchase and renovation of the family home on Bunker Hill.  Purchased with money borrowed from his brother-in-law Tom Andrews, it was Mary’s dream and he relentless worked to make it come true.  The home remains in the family thanks to his grandson Eric and his family.

 

In addition to his beloved wife, Mary, and his infant son, Francis, he is predeceased by his parents, Sidney, and Agnes (Quinan) Brown, his brother, Francis (aka “Juney”), and sisters Dorothy Brown and Jean (Murph) Blais, his brothers-in-law Tom Andrews, Bill Andrews, and his sisters-in-law Katherine Chard and Frances (Henry) Plouff.

 

Bill is survived by 5 generations of his large, loud, and loving family.

 

His children, William Michael Brown II of Troy NY, Daniel Thomas (Gail) Brown of Halfmoon NY, Kathleen Quinan Keeler of Cohoes NY, Margaret Jean Brown of Fort Pierce, FL, and his grandson who he raised as his own, Patrick Q (Jennifer) Keeler of Watervliet, NY.

 

His 16 grandchildren, Patricia (Derek) Wigley, William (Amanda) Brown III, Christina Brown, Shana McGilvray, Heather (Michael) Ferguson, Lisa (Kendal) Quinn, Eric (Kayla) Keeler, Rose Ann (Rosa) Brown, Melissa (Graham) Porter, Brian (Connie) Kane, Michael (Kellie) Berthiaume, Katie (Kevin) Keeler, Daniel Brown Jr, Bridget (Paul) Brown, and Alexander (Elizabeth) Brown.

 

He was the beloved Poppy to his 33 great grandchildren, Matthew, Mary, Andrew, Caden, Landon, Natalie, Deanna, Billy, Leighton (Mariah), Kyle (Kayleigh), Matthew, Ciara (Matt), Ricky, Peter, Gabby, TW, Bella, Seanna, Lexi, Mason, Chloe, Gavin, Chloe, Hayley, Aiden, Lillianna, Regan, Brynna, Cora, River, who was born on his 93rd birthday just as Bill predicted, Mariah (Leighton), Sean, and Kaydence,  

 

His 4 great-great grandchildren Allyson, Brayden, Kylie, and Madison. 

 

Bill is also survived by his brother-in-law Matthew Andrews and sister-in-law Agnes (Vernon) Cleary, along with many beloved nieces and nephews and a host of friends of all ages who he loved like family.

 

Heartfelt thanks to the Veterans Administration Fort Pierce Outpatient Clinic, the Visiting Nurses Association and Treasure Coast Hospice, especially his aides Darnell, Gamemi Yolonda; his personal needs aide Ms. Gabrielle; and his nurse, Nola.

 

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Memorial Mass at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Cohoes on Thursday July 29, 2021, at 11:00 am.  Bill has donated his body to science and will be buried alongside his wife at St Agnes Cemetery in Cohoes, at a later date.  Friends and relatives are invited to visit with the family at the American Legion Post 476 in Cohoes following the Mass.

 

In lieu of flowers, and for those who wish to please make a memorial contribution to St Jude Children’s Hospital or your local Humane Society.

 

 

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