Lester Claude Brown, 99, of Lockney, Texas, passed away at home on Saturday, April 18, 2020.
He was born on a farm near Muncy, Texas, on April 2, 1921, to J.M. and Lee Brown.
He graduated from Lockney High School in 1939. Claude married Wilma Juanita Holcomb on April 12, 1942.
During World War II, Claude served in the Army Air Corps as a parachute packer. His unit was deployed to the Pacific theater.
After the war, Claude and Wilma opened a dry-cleaning shop in Lockney that became Brown’s Department Store, which served the community for 48 years. Besides being a small businessman, Claude raised cotton on his farm outside Lockney. After the store closed each day, he would head out to his farm to hoe weeds for a few hours in the evenings.
A businessman and farmer, Claude’s life was characterized by service to others. He had a vision for the successful future of his community and worked hard to bring it to fruition. He served as mayor of Lockney for 16 years (1965-1981), Chamber of Commerce president, chairman of the Lockney Housing Board, Lockney ISDS School Board member, and Water District Board member. As a long-time member of the Rotary Club, Claude served two terms as its president and was honored with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow award.
In addition, Claude served on the W.J. Mangold Hospital Board and First National Bank Board of Directors, as well as being a Mason. In 2013, he participated in the World War II Honor Flight to Washington DC in recognition of his military service.
During their retirement, Claude and Wilma enjoyed traveling to visit fellow veterans, fishing trips with their family, playing cards, and hosting family gatherings and celebrations.
In recent years, Claude’s favorite pastime was attending dances twice a week with his daughter and many friends at the Senior Citizen Centers in Lubbock and Plainview.
Claude Brown is survived by his daughter, Ann Brown Race of Lockney; two grandsons, Karl (Sharon) Race of Levelland, Texas, and Randy (Robin) Race of Lockney; four great-grandchildren, Matthew (Heather) Race, Rayann (Maison) Ragland, Danae Race, Ryder Race; and one great-great-granddaughter, Rachel Race.
Claude was preceded in death by his wife, Wilma Holcomb Brown; son-in-law, Bill Race; brother, Marvin; and sister, Modelle.
A graveside service for immediate family was held on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at the City Cemetery in Lockney.
To share condolences, visit https://www.moore-rose.com/obituary/claude-brown-lockney.
The family suggests memorials to First Baptist Church, 401 S. Main St., Lockney, TX, or to the charity of your choice.