An Obituary: Nathaniel K. Brown

March 1, 2024

Nathaniel Kirkegaard Brown, age 91 and a lifelong resident of Bedford and Fremont, NH, passed away Feb. 28, 2024 surrounded by family who “loved him to death.”

Loving husband to the late Judith Rae (Behringer) Brown, father to Pamela J. Brown and her long-time partner Monther Mardini, Nathaniel K. Brown, Jr. and fiancé Jayne Schmitz, and Kenneth E. Brown and wife Shannon, all of Bedford; mentor and loving grandfather to grandchildren Amanda Brown, Alyssa Brown, Nathaniel Brown III, Mia Brown, Soren Brown, Jimmy McGinn and Kyle McGinn of Bedford. He is also survived by the newest love of his life Joan Birmingham (who he’d known since his teens) and many nieces and nephews.

Nat is predeceased by his parents, Judge John Fremont Brown and Louise Kirkegaard Brown, and brothers Richard and John.

Son of a nurserywoman and counsellor-at-law, Nat grew up with two family businesses: his father John’s law practice and his mother’s nursery business that was started by Nat’s grandparents and known as Shady Hill Nursery which had a stop on the rail line that ran through Bedford. He attended Bedford schools and the University of Massachusetts and Boston University where he earned his law degree.

Nathaniel K. Brown

An Air Force pilot, Captain Brown met his wife Judy while stationed at James Connolly AFB in Texas and they married the day after her college graduation from Baylor University in 1958. Following his service, Judy worked while Nat finished law school at Boston University. He joined his father’s law practice upon military discharge.

Having maintained a keen interest in horticulture through his entire life, he reveled in outdoor projects. With his wife Judy helping to run what is now New England Nurseries, Nat was able to keep up the Brown & Brown law firm as well. He was proud to have his two sons, Nat and Ken, operating the nursery and his daughter Pam managing the law office.

Nat followed his parents’ commitment to service to the community. He was an Eagle Scout and has remained an involved contributor to Troop 194. He was honored to participate in the Eagle ceremonies of his grandsons, Nathaniel and Jimmy.

Nat was Chairman of the Bedford Bicentennial Committee, active with the Bedford Minutemen, Bedford Historical Society, and Job Lane House (that his mother helped preserve for the Town).

Spiritually, Nat was active with the First Church Congregational and served as a deacon; in business he was involved with the Bedford Chamber of Commerce.

He grew up in the 4-H program learning many things, including horticulture which won him prize money at local exhibitions and the Boston Horticultural Society. Attending 4-H Camp Middlesex in the 1940s, he took over as a Director of the Camp Middlesex Foundation after his father’s death in 1959.

Nat was involved in everything Rotary since 1961, contributing his time and money to public service projects such as an ambulance for Nepal, a solar panel project in Ghana, the SNAP program in Lexington, Bedford Day, Breakfast with Santa and the 9/11 Memorial planting at Springs Brook Park. Even through his 80s, Nat was Bedford Rotary’s unofficial social director, always coordinating fun events, and the Rotary club held a 90th birthday celebration for him with a barbecue in the woods.

Nat also bestowed many contributions anonymously, believing that the joy of giving is its own reward.

While the list will never be complete, Nat was a proud member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery where he met many friends, a Mason and Shriner, and he loved a good meal with the​ Châine des Rôtisseurs Bailliage de Colonial New England.

Nat loved to travel, in New England and abroad – South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, the Baltic, Africa – every new place with a new culture in which to immerse himself.

Nat has been a role model and a sponsor and leader of good causes. His loss will leave a void – but Nat wouldn’t want you to mourn too long. He’d ask you to enjoy nature, pour a drink, enjoy good conversation, and do something that will have a lasting impact on someone.

Visiting hours will be held at Shawsheen Funeral Home, 281 The Great Road, Bedford, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5 at the First Church of Christ, Congregational, 25 The Great Road, Bedford. Burial will follow at 1:30 p.m. in Shawsheen Cemetery in Bedford. Family and friends are kindly invited.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Nat’s memory to the Bedford Rotary Club, Bedford Scout Troop 194, or the American Cancer Society.

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Denita Murphy
March 2, 2024 9:47 pm

Sorry for your loss Pam, Nat, Ken and families

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