Frank Brown loved youngsters and sports

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I was shocked and saddened this week to learn that my dear friend Frank Brown had passed away over the weekend.

I recently interviewed Frank and did a story about him being honored by the Georgia High School Association for 23 years of dedicated service as a high school baseball and softball umpire.

On the plaque which he received, Georgia High School Association Executive Director Ralph Swearngin praised him for his knowledge of the rules of the game and his impartial application of those rules in the athletic contests he officiated.

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Frank, who also officiated Georgia High School Association softball games and Bainbridge Leisure Services Department baseball and softball games, was a proud career veteran of the United States Air Force.

While in the Air Force, he umpired games throughout the country and the world.

In addition to being a dear friend, Frank was also a great help to me in my job.

A dedicated companion on many of my trips to cover Bainbridge High School Bearcats and Lady Cats sporting events, he would help me compile play by play information and total up score books.

The last time I saw Frank was Tuesday, January 4 at the Bainbridge High School Gymnasium. We sat together watching the Lady Cats and Bearcats defeat the Lady Bears and Bears of Baker County High School.

As usual, he was helping me with the play by play and the score book.

Frank was a familiar face at many Bainbridge High School sporting events. Often high school youngsters, who he knew during their youth baseball and softball days would come up and talk to him. He would always give them words of encouragement.

He was loved and respected by youth throughout Bainbridge and Decatur County. Frank and I often chuckled about his interaction with kids during games.

When high school baseball or softball players would slide into second base, and he would call them safe or out, they would often get up smile and say, “How are you doing Mr. Frank?” They knew he loved and cared about them.

Frank was also a proud graduate of Attapulgus High School, where he was a member of the basketball team.

We had many discussions about the intense basketball rivalries among the Attapulgus High School Bulldogs, the Climax High School Tigers and the West Bainbridge High School Pirates.

I and many others have lost a dear friend and the young athletes of Bainbridge and Decatur County have lost one of their biggest fans and supporters.

My heartfelt sympathy and prayers are with Franks family. They can take consolation in knowing that he is with the Lord he loved so much.