Mattapoisett celebrates military centenarian

Jul 24, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — Not every birthday celebration for a centenarian features a full salute from a group of active and former Marines. But Paul Brown’s did. 

Brown was a former Marine who served during World War II and turned 100 on July 24. His family and friends gathered in Mattapoisett to celebrate with two active members of the 25th Marine Regiment and members of the Marine Corp League of New Bedford. 

For Kenny Jandreau, a member of the Marine Corp League, the ceremony was “exceptional,” particularly because, “you don’t get 100 year old Marines that often.”

For active duty marine Sgt. Lockwood, seeing Brown was important because “heritage is what makes the Marine Corps. And we are passing it on to younger marines.” 

Brown grew up on a farm in Ohio. His family was poor, and he couldn’t graduate high school until 21, but then enlisted at graduation. 

He was trained as an aviation electrician working on Corsairs, and was a tail gunner. He served in the Solomon Islands and China. At one point, he oversaw the building of a runway.

Brown left the marines in 1946 and returned to Ohio, where he married his wife Dorothea, or Dottie, in 1950. 

He worked as a machinist at National Cash Register, and later at Hartzell Propeller, where he ran a tool shop. 

His daughter Kathy Eklund said that he didn’t often talk about his service. 

Brown retired in 1976. After retiring, he enjoyed playing golf and keeping his lawn meticulously maintained.  

His wife passed away in 2015, at which point he split the year between living with his son in Seattle and with Eklund in Mattapoisett. He finally moved in with her permanently in 2018. 

He is now part of the Fairhaven senior center’s active day program.  

“He used to moan and groan about visiting the senior center and all the old people. But he was older than all of them,”  Eklund said. Now, she said he always asks when the senior center will be open. 

The birthday boy was also very clear on his birthday wish. 

“I want to have a picnic on a farm!” Brown said.