Charles J. Brown III, Commander, U.S. Navy, Retired

Charles J. Brown III, Commander, U.S. Navy, Retired, 77, passed away peacefully on May 7, 2015 at Sentara RMH hospital in Harrisonburg, VA with his partner and his two children by his side.  He fought a brave battle for several months following an emergency triple bypass and multiple complications. According to his wishes, he will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Known to his family and friends as “Denny”, CDR Brown was born in Canandaigua, NY, son of Charles J Brown, Jr. and Matilda L. (nee Thompson) Brown.  He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Judith T. Higley of Canandaigua, NY.

CDR Brown is survived by his daughter, Maura J. Graham, husband Mark, and granddaughters Caroline, Molly Kate, and Annie of Brambleton, VA, and by his son, Christopher Brown, wife Maureen, and granddaughters Delaney, Lauren and Annabelle of Ashburn, VA.  He loved being with his family and friends and he was a devoted Grampa to his six granddaughters.  He is also survived by his loving partner of 16 years, Diane P. Reed of Woodstock, VA; his niece, Lynn S. Kelly and family of Rushville, NY; and by nephews Todd W. Higley and family, and Mark C. Higley, both of Canandaigua, NY.

CDR Brown is a graduate of Canandaigua Academy and St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY.  Prior to enlisting in the Navy in 1962, he was employed in the surveying department of Lozier Engineers, Rochester, NY.  After completing Navy training as an Interior Communications Electrician, he served at sea aboard the nuclear powered carrier USS Enterprise.  Upon completion of Officers Candidate School in 1964, he served at sea aboard the destroyers USS Davis, USS Gainard, USS John R. Perry, and USS Rich.  His shore assignments included Staff, Destroyer Flotilla Five, Pearl Harbor; Staff, U.S. Third Fleet, Ford Island; and Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon.  CDR Brown also completed training at U.S. Naval Justice School; U.S. Naval Destroyer School; U.S. Armed Forces Staff College, and the senior officer course at U.S. Navy War College.  His last assignment prior to his 1986 retirement was Head, Military Support Office, U.S. Naval Military Personnel Command, Arlington, VA.

His passions were cooking, antiquing, and genealogy.  He did extensive research on his family history with and had also done research for his friends and extended family.  He and Diane had enjoyed travel with a pleasure cruise along the Norway coast to the Arctic Circle; a riverboat cruise on the Rhine and Moselle Rivers in Germany and France; and a canal boat vacation on the Erie Canal.

His family would like to express their sincere appreciation to the kind and devoted medical care team and caregivers at Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Harrisonburg, VA  and for the support of all their friends  and extended family.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Denny’s name to CaringBridge,, which was invaluable to his family during his illness, search for dennybrown2: or donations can be made to Fisher House, Rockville, MD, which provides housing for military families when a loved one is hospitalized,


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