Upham's Corner Online

Ralph Francis Browne Jr.  - In Memoriam - A Life Well Lived

Ralphe Browne Jr.Ralph Francis Browne Jr. of Uphams Corner MA passed away on September 3, 2012 from congestive heart failure.  He was 81 years old.

Mr. Browne is survived by his wife of 60 years, Wilma, and their seven children, 11 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

He leaves his wife Wilma A. Browne to whom he was married for 60 years.  He is the father to seven children: Rachelle, Ralphe, Roger, Roxanne and Russell of Boston,  Rozalyn of Los Angeles, CA and  and Renee of Atlanta, GA.  The Brownes also have 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The funeral service is Friday at 11:00 A.M. at Twelfth Baptist Church 160 Warren Street, ROXBURY. Visiting with the family at church at 10:00 A.M. Interment Oak Lawn Cemetery, Roslindale.

In lieu of flowers, make donations in Ralph’s memory to AARP Chapter 4685 Scholarship Fund, 408 Norfolk Street, Dorchester 02124. Arrangements Davis Funeral Home of Boston. To post a sympathy message, visit DavisFuneralHomeBoston.com.

Photo:  Ralph Browne at the March 24, 2012 fundraiser for the Juneteenth Boston Celebration.

A Korean War Veteran Who Continued to Serve

Ralph is remembered by so many in the community.  He served on the Dudley Square Main Streets as an advocate for the community.

Mr. Browne served in 272nd Field Artillery Battalion of the Massachusetts National Guard, an all-African-American unit, during the Korean and continued to work as a civilian with the Air Force after his time in the National Guard. 

Following separation from military service, he continued his relationship with the military and was employed by the United States Air Force.  Service to his country became service to the community.  He was president of the Dorchester Allied Neighborhood Association and the commander of Mattapan’s William E. Carter American Legion Post.

In addition, he served as the President of the 272nd Veterans Association and the Organization of Afro-American Veterans.  He was the Affirmative Action Officer for the Ward 15 Democratic Committee and Dorchester’s Representative on the City of Boston Mayor’s Advisory Committee.

After the Dorchester Day Parade Committee announced his appointment as the 2012 Dorchester Day Parade Chief Marshal, he told a Dorchester Reporter journalist, Elizabeth Murray, "It’s indeed an honor.  It’s a great tradition. Many have come before me, and I’m really honored to be one this year.”

Special Memories of Ralph and Wilma

Ralph Browne JrThis reporter (Nancy Conrad) remembers Ralph and his wife Wilma from the Juneteenth celebration which took place at the National Center of Afro-American Artists, 300 Walnut Ave in Roxbury on June 19, 2012.  They left a very special impression on me - such lovely people.  I will miss him very much.

Ralph was a member of the Boston Juneteenth Celebration Committee. The committee had worked very hard to put together a meaningful remembrace of the effective day of emancipation.  While President Abraham Lincoln declared the Provisional Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, it was not until June 19, 1865 that those still held in slavery in Texas were finally freed.

The committee held a fundraiser on March 24, 2012 which Mr. Browne and I both attended.  While I photographed him and everyone one else at the event, I did not speak with him or get to know him in any way. 

During the actual Juneteenth Celebration, Mr. Browne asked me for copies of the photos I was taking and I assured him that would not be a problem. 

Click here for Juneteenth Celebration in Boston.

Photo:  Ralph Browne at the Juneteenth Boston Celebration, June 19, 2012.

When the event closed, I started walking home, not having any idea how to get from Walnut Ave to Monadnock St by bus.  As the crow flies, I thought, it couldn't be more than 45 minutes away.

On Townsend Street, I heard voices calling in my direction.  I looked up and there they were - Wilma and Ralph, offering me a ride home.  I was just so delighted.  What incredibly wonderful people.  What a joyous and heartwarming conversation on the way home.

Promises unbroken, I prepared a CD of all the photos taken at both the March 24 and the June 19 events and delivered them to their home in Uphams Corner.

No other conversations, no other actions, no other opportunities to say hello or say goodbye.

Yet, the memory of their kindness that day will remain with me always.

Posted: September 6, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

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