WILMINGTON — Larry Clinton “L.C.” Brown, 79, revered and longtime resident of Wilmington, died in the early evening of Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. He succumbed from complications of the COVID-19 virus.
He was preceded in death by his father, Albert S. Brown; and mother, Ethel M. Covey.
He is survived by his beloved family, devoted wife, Eileen Brown; three daughters, Delores Nye, Debra Brown and Robin Shulikov; son, Philip Brown; grandchildren, Avery, Cayla, Camden, Mia, Ashley, Conan, Mariah, Gabrielle, Emma, Mathew and Faith; great-grandchildren, Madison, Elayna, Charley, Isaac, Frankie, Willow and Lilliana; along with brothers, Albert S. Brown Jr. and Victor Zugg; and sister, Delores Faye Coile.
Because of the COVID-19 situation, and in accordance with his wishes, there will be no gathering or ceremony. He preferred to leave everyone with memories of his life, not his death.
Larry was born Jan. 2, 1941, in a modest home in Kissimmee, Florida, a mere crossroads among a slew of cow pastures at the time. He wasn’t there long since his parents and siblings moved often with his father’s search for work. It was the war years. Pearl Harbor would be bombed in less than a year. Jobs in Central Florida were scarce; money was tight. He went by “Pete” at that time, short for Peterjinks, a nickname given by his father. Larry didn’t care for it much, but he tolerated that reference to him by his brothers, sister and cousins. To them, he will always be Pete.
He spent those early years climbing trees, stalking the neighborhoods and playing cowboys and Indians. Every kid at that time was a cowboy. Larry could often be seen with a cap gun strapped to his hip in an authentic leather holster. He was a tough kid and teen, especially for his size. He could be quick to temper but equally quick to forgive. In either case, he hid it well.
Larry joined the U.S. Marine Corps on his 17th birthday. He served at El Toro Air Base, California; Iwakuni Air Station, Japan; Okinawa, Japan; and finally at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He claimed he was promoted to private first class three times. Combined, he was equal to a sergeant in his mind.
In 1969, he moved to Wilmington, and joined the fire department, where he served for 25 years. For much of that time, he was affectionately
referred to by yet another nickname — L.C., pronounced like Elsie. He worked his way up: engineer, EMT, lieutenant and captain. He was there on Market Street in 1987 when the gas line exploded killing a division fire chief. Larry was burned as well, but he recovered and went on to serve out a distinguished career.
In 1971, he joined the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Valley of Wilmington, the St. John’s Lodge No. 1 initially. He worked hard and eventually served as master three times — 1978, 2007 and 2018. He was also master of the Ashlar Lodge No. 765 in 2011. He steadfastly followed the stringent standards set by the lodge and was often called upon to pass along his knowledge to young masons.
Larry was short in stature, but he was a giant in personality and character. He was a friend to all, never met a stranger. He could and would strike up a conversation with anyone at any time. He was generous, maybe to a fault. “It’s only money,” he often said in that gruff voice. He was a permanent member of the Whitey’s Café roundtable on Market Street, where a group of police officers, firemen and friends met over coffee to solve the world’s problems. There was no greater joy for him than spending time with family and friends. It is to them that he devoted his life, and it is to them that he leaves behind many fond memories.
If you would like to make a donation in his honor, there are two main charities Larry supported. You may contribute to the Shriners Hospital for Children online or to the Widows Fund by mail. Send a check to Tom Jones, in care of the St. John’s Lodge #1, 1310 Cape Fear National Drive, Leland, NC 28451. Be sure to write “Widow’s Fund” in the memo section.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked instead for your “Larry” stories. If you have a story you would like to share about Larry, Pete, L.C., please do so at Wilmington Funeral & Cremation.