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Obituary of John L. Brown, Jr. , 85


John L. Brown, Jr., Ph.D., age 85, Professor Emeritus, College of Engineering, Penn State University, died on Sunday, February 20, 2011, at the Fairways in State College. Professor Brown was born in 1925 in Ellenville, NY to the late John and Evelyn Brown (Freer). He served three years in the U.S. Army during WWII, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and physics at Ohio University in 1948 (salutatorian) and from 1948 to 1951 held a fellowship in applied mathematics at Brown University, receiving his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from that institution in 1953. While completing his degree, he joined the staff of the Ordnance Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University where he was Professor of Engineering Research and Head of the Laboratory's Theoretical Studies Group. He joined the Electrical Engineering Department at Penn State in 1969 as Professor of Electrical Engineering. His principal research interests were in the area of statistical communication theory, with particular emphasis on signal representations and approximations resulting in over 190 publications. He had been an associate editor of the Fibonacci Quarterly since 1963. Dr. Brown was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, IEEE, American Mathematical Society and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Professor Brown retired in 1986. Following his retirement, he was named the General Lew Allen Professor of Electrical Engineering at AFIT, Wright Paterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio. In 1992 he became the Stocker Professor of Electrical Engineering at Ohio University. At Penn State, John and his wife Lynn established the John L. Brown, Jr. and Marlynn Steele Sidehamer Endowment for the Center for the Performing Arts as well as, the Dr. John L. Brown, Jr. Endowed Scholarship for the College of Engineering.

In addition to his many awards throughout his career, he, along with his wife Lynn, received the 2010 Distinguished Service Award from the Center for the Performing Arts. Most recently, he was selected as an Honorary Alumnus for 2011, given for his enthusiasm and support of Penn State. The award will be presented posthumously on June 4, 2011. He is a member of the Campbell Society of the Centre County Community Foundation. John was a longtime member of the University Club, Friend of the Palmer Museum, an avid tennis player, book and art collector, and lover of classical music.

He is survived by his wife, Marlynn (Lynn) S. Sidehamer, stepdaughter, Kimberly S. Watkins, her husband, Frederick and their children Emma and James of Mahwah, NJ, his sisters, Grace Brown of Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts, and Evelyn Memet of Ellenville, NY

The family will receive friends at a Memorial Remembrance and Reception to be held Sunday, March 20,2011, at 4:00 p.m. at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Name of Deceased

John L. Brown, Jr.



Date of Death


Date of Birth


Funeral Home

Koch Funeral Home

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