My Last Two Uncles


Joe & Guthrie

These two men were the coolest dudes when I was growing up… Joe, on the left, was the youngest of my uncles on the Melvin side.  WG Brown became my uncle when he married Joe’s sister. This picture was taken while both of them were in the Army at the time. Joe stayed in the Army… fighting in Korea and Vietnam. Matter of fact he volunteered to go back to Vietnam SIX times. I have never known anyone who was so gung ho. It was not that he loved war, just that he seemed to be energized by living on the edge war provided. He was an outstanding soldier. Congressman, Howard Coble, presented Joe with 55 medals from his time in service. He is now in the VA home in Asheville waiting for room at a VA facility nearer to Greensboro.

Guthrie Brown was just cool. When I was a young child Guthrie started work as a Park Ranger at Guilford Memorial Park. I always looked at him with great respect, especially because I thought he worked with Smokey the Bear… and to me that was a big, big deal. But as I grew I found there was much more to him than his famed friend.

WG, as he was known, was one of the biggest NASCAR fans around. Back in that day you pulled for the car. The big adversaries were Ford, Chevy, and Plymouth. WG was a FORD fan. Some would pick on him saying that FORD meant Fix Or Repair Daily. His come back was always First On Race Day.

He was a good man, cigar and all. He was always true to his word… one of those you can always count on, my kind of guy. When I was 16, I asked my Aunt Betty if I could borrow their car for a job interview. WG’s car was his baby… and you didn’t mess with his baby. I was very, very careful to drive safely and stay out of everyone’s way. His car was a gold colored Ford Galaxy… I mean… top of the line… sweet, cool ride. To be any cooler you would have to drive a T-Bird convertible.

He was our family’s James Dean or Steve McQueen. He didn’t try to be like them… he was just cool. Well, Guthrie stepped through Heaven’s Gate on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021. He was in his 90’s and it was just more difficult to struggle through… He was a good Christian man who made it to the finish line. I don’t know if he saw a checkered flag or not, but I am sure he saw Aunt Betty and felt the loving arms of God. Guthrie, you made it all the way… the car may have been a little wobbly and the ride unsteady… but you were welcomed at the finish line with a “Well done, my son, well done”.

We all will miss this man, his manner, his laugh, his smile, and a man who was as real and honest as they come.

I still think he worked with Smoky the Bear.

Grace and Peace

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