Larry Lynn Brown Sr.
Published 6:36 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2023
June 10, 1943 – April 25, 2023
NATCHEZ – Services for Larry Lynn Brown Sr., 79, who died at his home in Natchez on April 25, 2023, will be conducted at the First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Joan Gandy officiating; visitation will be from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. Thursday, April 27, in Stratton Chapel and services at noon at the Church. Burial will follow at the Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.
He married Shields Godfrey in Natchez on March 25, 1972, and was the father of three children, Larry Lynn Brown Jr., Coyle Sessions Brown, and Caroline Shields Brown.
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Butch, as he was known, was born on June 10, 1943, in Natchez, Mississippi, the son of Coyle Hansel Brown and Deloris Givens. He graduated from Natchez High School and from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Business Management. He became an ad hoc instructor at the Resident Center of the University of Southern Mississippi.
His business education and entrepreneurial spirit served him well and he founded The Brown Lumber Company, a highly respected venture, and later Riverside Central Services, a full-service warehouse operation in the Natchez Port.
In the 1970’s his interests turned to public service and he was instrumental in the establishment of a Natchez Campus of Copiah Lincoln Community College and served for many years on its Board of Trustees.
Also, during this time, he helped establish the Mississippi – Louisiana Interstate Bridge Compact on which he served as a Commission Member, serving as a catalyst for the eventual funding and construction of a new four lane bridge between the two states.
In 1992 he was elected Mayor of the City of Natchez and again in 1996. His tenure as Mayor was marked by a progressive time of ordinances and policies addressing new programs. Of special note was his lead in securing federal funding for the Natchez Bluff which was recognized nationally as a significant engineering project and which has been enjoyed for many years by the citizens of Natchez and by visitors for its scenic beauty. This coupled with the acquisition of the Natchez Pecan Factory Site and its use as a green space and an event venue have greatly enhanced Natchez as a Tourism Destination nationwide.
Also, during this time, he helped secure funding for a new Visitor Center and convinced Congress to help fund and locate the Federal Courthouse in Natchez.
He boldly took on the task of building a state-of-the-art Convention Center bringing thousands of new visitors to Natchez. Through his efforts, the city acquired the Old Post Office on Main Street and repurposed it into a historic museum known as the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African American Culture.
Butch was also a major player in the construction of the terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway on Liberty Road. A new Council Chamber was acquired and the city updated Water and Sewer services and moved the Police Department into a new facility.
Butch was always careful to give the city employees credit for these many successes and emphasized the achievements that came about because he saw the employment of good managers, department heads, and staff and solicited and listened to their suggestions and ideas. He loved the City of Natchez and its people and that was his lodestar in everything he did as a public servant.
In 2001 he was appointed by the Mississippi Transportation Commission as Executive Director of the Mississippi Transportation Department where he served until 2011. In this capacity, the State was able to four lane and improve thousands of miles of roads and bridges across the state. He took special pride in the role he and former Governor Haley Barbour took in rebuilding the roads and bridges on the Gulf Coast after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
After leaving the Department of Transportation he returned home to Natchez and was elected to a third term as Mayor in 2012 where he continued to oversee more improvements to the city infrastructure and services. During this time, he presided over the 300 Year Anniversary of the City’s founding in 1716, a yearlong series of events depicting and telling the stories of the history and people who made Natchez such a wonderful and historic city.
Butch was a man of vision and that and his undaunted energy brought about many great changes to Natchez. One only needs to ride around the city and see the many landmarks noting these successes.
To fully understand this complex man of many talents, in his reelection campaign in 1996, he noted his many successes as Mayor and his slogan was “I may not be perfect, but I get things done.” And so, he did.
Butch was preceded in death by his parents, a son, Coyle Sessions Brown, and a daughter Caroline Shields Brown; a sister Billie Brown Smith of West Monroe, La, and a brother Dwyane Brown of Memphis, TN.
Survivors are his wife, Shields Godfrey Brown; his son, Larry Lynn Brown Jr., and wife, Mattie Smith Brown of Natchez; his grandchildren, Ansley Elizabeth Brown of Houston, TX, Larry Lynn Brown III, William Barrett Brown, and Caston Coyle Brown, all of Natchez; Sessions Hite Brown and Shields Hutchinson Brown of Nashville, TN; niece, Kim Smith Clement (Michael Clement) of West Monroe, LA; nephew, William Edward Godfrey IV of Jackson, MS; sister-in-law, Laura Breland Godfrey of Natchez; brother-in-law, John M. Smith of West Monroe, LA, brother-in-law, Rev. Sam Godfrey (Patty) of Vicksburg and their son, Russell Godfrey; special friend, Sasha Brown of Houston, TX and special cousin, Ralph B. Shields of Vidalia, La.
A heartfelt thanks to Butch’s caregivers Juanita Nicholson and Yolanda Allen.
Pallbearers are William Edward Godfrey IV, Rev. Tim Brown, James Johnston, Eddie Ray Henry, Brant Ratcliffe, Barnett Serio, Webster Miller, and Allen Slay.
Honorary Pallbearers are Walter Brown, Willie Ray Huff, Stratton Bull, Jim Codell, Lyman Aldrich, J. W. Seibert, Lee Jones, Dan Bland, Ralph Shields, Michael Gemmell, Tony Byrne, Webb Carter, and Nicky Myers.
In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Natchez, The Pastor’s Discretionary Fund, Natchez Cemetery Association, or charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.