Palmerton man known as staunch supporter of community
He served our country in the U.S. Army, where he spent 13 months in Korea as a radio teletype operator.
Once he returned to civilian life, many knew him for being a fixture on the local sports scene, as he never missed any of his beloved Palmerton Blue Bomber sporting events.
To others, he was known for being a longtime season-pass holder at the Palmerton Memorial Pool, as well as a devoted customer at Bert’s Steakhouse & Restaurant.
Sadly, the Palmerton community lost one of its true linchpins when Harry Brown died Thanksgiving Day morning. He was 76.
To hear those who knew him best, Brown left behind a an everlasting legacy that speaks to not only his passion for his country, but also his devotion to his community.
Ed Moyer, of Jim Thorpe, has known Brown for over 50 years, and spoke of his comrade’s unwavering support to both the American Legion Post 269 of Palmerton, and Palmerton United Veterans Organization.
Moyer, UVO member and commander of American Legion Post 269 of Palmerton, said Brown was a member of the legion for over 50 years.”
“Harry’s always been a part of our legion, our UVO, was also a director of the veteran’s committee, and helped on the veteran’s memorial,” Moyer said. “He also served as historian officer for the legion for about the past 20 years.”
Moyer said that on the sports scene, Brown was synonymous with Palmerton athletic events.
“Harry never missed any of the Palmerton sporting events (until this year due to COVID-19),” he said. “I think that hurt Harry the most, (that) Harry was stuck in the house.”
A stout Philadelphia Phillies fan, Moyer said Brown visited every Major League ballpark in modern times.
For the past two years, he said Brown’s vacations consisted of visiting every county seat in Pennsylvania and taking pictures of the courthouses, for which he would do a report or slideshow at the Palmerton Camera Club.
Moyer said Brown was also an accomplished bowler, not to mention his bowling partner.
“When we bowled, he had to bowl in the Pennsylvania State Legion Tournament,” he said. “Harry always insisted he was the better driver, and he had to drive us all,” he said. “But if you asked any of us, Harry was probably the worst driver.”
Moyer said that Brown would put teams together each year.
“He wanted to get 50 years with the Legion bowling,” he said. “Harry did make 51 consecutive years, and was honored by the Pennsylvania State Legion, who presented a plaque to him, and the bowling alley presented a trophy to him; that was a big day.”
Additionally, Moyer said Brown was recognized a few years ago when he was named to the Palmerton Bowler Association’s Hall of Fame.
Moyer recounted that the last time he saw Brown was a little over a week ago at the bowling league.
“Harry still ran that league, so as sick as he was last Friday night, he would come over, set the teams up, set the schedule up on the monitor,” he said. “We actually got together with Harry and after (about) 1 1/2 to 2 hours, we said, ‘Go home and get some rest’, and that was the last we seen of Harry.”
Susie Arner, president of Pool Pals of Palmerton Memorial Park, said Brown was a season-pass holder at the Palmerton Memorial Pool for at least the past 45 years, where he participated in all special events.
“From Palmerton Pool’s standpoint, Harry was a valuable asset to the committee who ran the brown bag raffle at the Palmerton (Community) Festival; he was a staple there,” Arner said. “He was an active participant, very well liked, and will be missed by the members of the Jittery Joints Water Aerobics Class.”
Arner said Brown was lovingly referred to by many as “Downtown” Harry Brown, as he always frequented and supported local businesses in the borough’s downtown.
“Every day you could find him at lunchtime on his stool at Bert’s Steakhouse, he was a fixture; he was a creature of habit,” she said. “He frequently read his Times News on the bench near the veterans memorial.”
And yes, Arner could even be found at Palmerton sporting events, big or small.
“He would show his support of all Bomber sports at every level,” she said. “He would even follow the summer swim team from the Palmerton Pool.”
Arner said Brown also proudly sponsored a band each year for one of the Palmerton Concourse Club’s Concerts in the Park since its inception; displayed many of his photos at the Palmerton Concourse Club’s art show for over 20 years; was a former volunteer with Meals on Wheels and the Palmerton Blood Mobile; and was a very active member of St. Peters UCC Church in Parryville.
“What a gem,” she said. “He will definitely be very missed throughout the town.”