The life history of Kenneth and Jean Brown is one worth telling. It proves that God lives and that life is worth living to its fullest.
For close to a century, the Browns have served God, their family, country and community every day. For those who know Kenneth, many would say he’s had nine lives, or more. After many unexpected events throughout his youth, such as being electrocuted, having an appendix rupture and serving in the bloodiest battle in World War Two, it’s a miracle he lives to tell his story.
“I believe in divine intervention and I have had some amazing things happen in my life,” he said. “I believe that there is a reason for my being preserved. I think the Lord has special things he wants us to do and I needed to live!”
Kenneth signed up to serve in the navy, which was supposed to be the safest division. While traveling on a train to the naval training base, the man in charge called out his name, along with 40 other men. A Sargent came and congratulated them because they were now called to serve in the Marine Corps. Kenneth attended boot camp and began serving in his new division.
“Events happen in your life that changes your life,” he said.
After being “dear johned” three months into his service, he became discouraged and said somewhat jokingly that he wanted to see the chaplain. When his officer heard this, he took him to see the chaplain. After a series of questions, Kenneth noticed he was being interviewed. The chaplain was impressed to hear about his values and standards and offered him to be his assistant.
This position was a great opportunity for him and it ended up saving him from death.
After his service in Iwo Jima, he came back and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After his mission, he met his wife who was a school teacher in Idaho.
When Jean was 15, she worked in a factory during the summers that made glass blowing lathes. She helped make seals for radio transmitters which were used during World War Two.
“That kind of made the war become more real to me,” she said.
In high school, Jean became part of a trio singing group and together the three girls would travel the coast and sing for the troops.
Later, while attending BYU, her trio was invited to sing with the actor, Jimmy Wakely. After the show, everyone wanted her autograph. She’ll never forget that moment of fame with a cowboy movie star.
“I’ve just loved to sing, it’s just been part of my life,” she said.
Jean then moved to Idaho in her early 20s to teach school. She taught a variety of subjects, such as girls’ choir, French, Algebra, English and Physical Education.
“It’s been a great career, some of those kids that I had in school are my best friends today,” she said.
The Browns have been living their happily ever after for 69 years. Throughout those years, Kenneth went on to receive his doctorate in religious education. He taught at BYU and BYU-Idaho. They had 7 children, served a mission in Jacksonville, Florida and have continued to serve in many other church callings. Jean continues to sing in church at the age of 93.
Their advice to today’s generation is to have fun every day and be grateful.