Christopher Michael Brown, 51, died Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at Walnut Creek Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California following a brief illness.
He leaves his mother Arleen (Tobin) Brown of Middletown; his brother Shawn J. Brown, sister-in-law Celia C. Brown, niece Noelle C. Brown and nephew Aidan K. Brown; step-son Kili’i French; and his English bulldogs Duke, Winston and Delilah.
Born and raised in Middletown, Chris was the son of the late John J. Brown, Jr. and Arleen (Tobin) Brown, and was predeceased by his beloved step-son, Kamea French.
A graduate of the Middletown High School Class of 1988, Chris was known for his big personality, bigger smile, and close-knit group of friends. A Rhode Island State Champion in the heavyweight division in wrestling, Chris was an All-State player in football, track, and wrestling. An accomplished photographer, Chris got his start taking pictures for the Middletown High School yearbook.
Chris attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy, where he played NCAA football, took third place in the New York State NCAA wrestling championship, and placed as an All American at the NCAA National Wrestling Championship. Chris regularly participated in waterfront activities and was a member of the ocean sailing racing squadron. During his time at the Academy, Chris sailed as a cadet midshipman in support of Operation Desert Storm. He graduated in 1992 and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves.
Embracing a life of travel and adventure across the globe, Chris initially started his career at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, where he served as chief engineer with the T/V Kings Pointer. At the same time, Chris worked as chief engineer for the Great Neck Vigilant Engine & Hook & Ladder Company in Great Neck, N.Y.
Chris went on to work as ship superintendent for the Cascade General Shipyard in Portland, Oregon before embarking on a lengthy career with Chevron in Houston, Texas and San Ramon, California. A universally respected employee, Chris served on overseas assignments for Chevron with the North West Shelf Shipping Service Company in Perth, Australia as well as Oil Companies International Marine Forum in London.
In his free time, Chris was an accomplished sailor who participated in the Newport to Bermuda and Fastnet races, among others. Working through his company, Rhode Island Red Photography, his freelance sports and action pictures could be seen in Sports Illustrated and other internationally read periodicals.
Chris also served as the Sergeant at Arms of the Mount Diablo H.O.G. Motorcycle Club in Walnut Creek, California, where he enjoyed riding and participating in club activities. He also participated in learning the craft of short-wave radio with the Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Operators Club in Pleasant Hill, California.
Visitation will be held Saturday, May 8 at 9:00 AM prior to Mass of Christian burial at 10:00 AM, St. Lucy’s Church, 909 West Main Rd, Middletown. Burial will follow St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown's Ln, Middletown.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial donations be made to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association and Foundation, Inc. 300 Steamboat Road, Kings Point, NY 11024, or by visiting www.usmmaalumni.com.