Remembering S.J. ‘Shirley’ Brown

August 22, 2006

Last Ted Brown and his wife Kathy honored his father S.J. Brown with a $500,000 to Adm. Jack Fetterman Maritime Museum [$1 million maritime museum gift].

The PNJ described S.J. Brown as “S.J. Brown, who died in 2005, was the founder of Brown Marine Service Inc. and a tugboat captain who operated a shipping and barge transport business for several decades.”

I knew Capt. Brown – the S stood for Shirley. He knew many of the towboat families from my hometown, Greenville, Miss – The Brents, Russell Flowers, etc. – and lived to tell stories of the early towboat days on the Mississippi River.

He was known for his breakfasts on his concrete yacht. If you were invited, you never knew who might be there – a Governor, US Senator, presidential aide or some other visiting dignitary. There was always plenty of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, grits. There could be as many as dozen people sitting are around the huge tables discussing politics and the events of the day.

A visit to Pensacola by any worthwhile politician included breakfast with Shirley Brown. He deserves to be a part of the maritime museum.

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  • Steven M. Bryan, Sr. April 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    As S.J. Brown’s grandson, I can say without doubt, he definately influenced the transportation of petroleum products on the Gulf Coast. He was the first to build barges larger than 20,000 Bbls (which many said would never catch on) only to see barges upwards of 30,000 bbls being built as the norm nowdays. I now work for the company that bought out his remaining barges and towboats, Florida Marine Transporters, Inc., and know the Flowers family and Brent family very well. When my grandfather died, it ended an era and he is greatly missed. I have now had the honor of a boat being named after me by Florida Marine, the M/V Steven M. Bryan, and I wish he was here to see it. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish he was still here.

    Steven M. Bryan, Sr.
    Covington, LA.