Brownie Museum

November 1, 1954: Brownie’s Obituary appears in Daytona Beach News-Journal.

On October 31, 1954 after a long illness, Brownie the Town Dog of Daytona Beach died. The next day his obituary appeared in the Daytona Beach News Journal. The headline: Brownie Dies; He’ll Be Buried In Park.

This obituary is by far my favorite of the many articles written about Brownie. Although I suspect many of the details are not totally accurate (Brownie was likely not 20 when he died, for example.), it gives by far the most little details about Brownie’s life and who did what and when for him. Every paragraph opens a door to more research that needs to be done to really put each piece of Brownie’s life together.

Brownie's Obituary for November 1, 1954 Daytona Beach News Journal.
Brownie’s Obituary for November 1, 1954 Daytona Beach News Journal. Note that he is listed as being 20 years old. The dates on his grave indicate he was 15.

A few things to note about this obituary:

  • The most shocking item, to me, is that the Benjamin Rawls Animal Hospital where Brownie was being treated and eventually died STILL EXISTS in the same exact location! I will be paying them a visit!
  • The obituary did not appear on the front page. It was on the second or third page of the News-Journal. It was an important story for Daytona Beach, but there were lots of national news stories happening that beat out the death of the beloved Brownie.
  • Since Brownie was suffering for a long time, the City Manager Leroy Harlow and Daytona Cab Company owner Ed Budgen (who looked after Brownie) had already gotten permission from the City to bury Brownie in Riverfront Park when he passed. A few days earlier, it still wasn’t clear where Brownie was going to be buried. So, the decision happened quickly. BUT the exact spot of the grave was still not selected when this article went to press.
  • Bob Robertson and Gilbert Glesser built Brownie’s casket. I am assuming these were cab drivers since cab drivers also built Brownie’s dog house. Perhaps their families still live in Daytona Beach and can provide more insight into what happened to the dog house.
  • After vet bills $176 remained in Brownie’s account. This money was for purchasing the grave stone. I know that the company that made the stone ended up accepting less than the cost of creating it.
  • Brownie’s dog house is mentioned and they don’t know what they are going to do with it. It’s interesting that it cost $31 in materials to build back in the 40s and 50s.
  • C.P. Miller of Miller Package Store on Magnolia started taking care of Brownie during World War II (1939-1945), and managed his yearly tag. I believe the cost of his tag was actually paid for by the citizens of Daytona Beach. This is another area I have to research.
  • Note the photograph used. This is the only time I’ve seen this photo. It’s from when Brownie was young.