James Harold Brown

James Harold Brown, 84, of Elizabethtown, died Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at Baptist Health Hardin after several lengthy illnesses. He was a Cecilia native; a longtime, award-winning educator; a prolific gardener; a carpenter; a collector; an animal lover; and a friend to many. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Harl Brown and Jessie Stewart Brown; his sister Barbara Brown Castle; three brothers-in-law, James Andrew Castle, Burnis Smith England, and James Taylor Walden; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Carolyn Walden Brown, of Elizabethtown; his son, James Joseph Joey Brown of Elizabethtown; a sister-in-law, Betty Jean England, of Tompkinsville, Kentucky; two nephews, James Brian Castle and his wife, Brandy Castle, of Olathe, Kansas, and Larry Smith England, of Tompkinsville; two nieces, Cheri England Cropper and her husband, Clark Cropper, of Cookeville, Tennessee, and Tammy Lynn Walden, of Glasgow, Kentucky; three great-nephews, Nicholas Brian Castle, of Norman, Oklahoma, Garrett Charles Castle, of Olathe, and Mason Samuel Cropper, of Cookeville; two great-nieces, Sabrina Denise Castle, of Overland Park, Kansas, and Grace Joy Cropper, of Cookeville; numerous cousins and friends; and his granddog, Jasper. He was a product of and an advocate for the Archdiocese of Louisvilles Catholic school system. He attended St. Ambrose School in Cecilia and St. James School in Elizabethtown, and he was a 1956 graduate of Elizabethtown Catholic High School. He graduated from Bellarmine College in 1960 with a B.A. in English. He earned a Master of Education degree in 1964 and a Rank I in Education in 1978, both from Spalding College. Upon earning his bachelors degree, he was hired as a teacher at Etown Catholic. He taught English, History, and Religion. Two years later, in 1962, he became the full-time assistant registrar at Bellarmine College. His love for both teaching and ECHS as well as the schools struggle to find teachers drew him back to his high school alma mater in 1963, although he continued in his role as Bellarmines assistant registrar for several summers. By 1965, he was named assistant principal of ECHS, and in 1967, less than two years after the Second Vatican Council expanded the role of laity in the Roman Catholic Church, he became the first lay principal at the high school level in the Archdiocese of Louisville and its second lay principal overall. Following Etown Catholics closure in 1969, he was recruited for the position of principal of Ekron Elementary School in the Meade County school district. One year later, he returned to Elizabethtown as principal of St. James Elementary School, a position he held for the next 17 years. He spent a total of 25 years over a 27-year period as an educator in the St. James Catholic parish. He also taught in the Education Department at Spalding College, and during the earliest years of his education career, he spent his summers earning extra money learning the construction trade and building houses throughout Hardin County with the Edlin brothers. Years later, he put his construction skills to use as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Seeking new challenges and a change of pace, he spent the rest of his education career at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, first as an instructional specialist in the Learning Lab and an adjunct English professor, then as director of Career Connections, and later as a Student Affairs Officer and director of the Regional Assessment Center. He retired from ECTC in 2002 after 15 years of service. He earned many awards and honors throughout his life and career, including the Parent Association Award for the Student Who Made Best Use of Talents and Educational Opportunities While Attending Bellarmine College (1960); the Elizabethtown Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator Award (1966); and the Jim Thornberry Community Service Award (1996-97), bestowed by Knights of Columbus Council 1455, of which he was a longtime member. He was also a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Nominee (1960) and a Kentucky Colonel, appointed by Gov. Martha Layne Collins (1987). He was a strong proponent of the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Hardin Memorial Hospital (now Baptist Health Hardin). With 2,456 official visits and at least 400 unofficial visits, he was the most active participant in the BHH Cardiac Rehab programs history. He credited his almost daily participation in this exercise and cardiopulmonary education program over 19 years with his surviving 21 years beyond an emergency quadruple coronary bypass operation in 2001. The nurses, other staff members, and many of the early morning participants in the Cardiac Rehab program became family. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Monday, June 6 at St. James Catholic Church in Elizabethtown with Fr. Michael Wimsatt presiding. Burial follows at St. James Cemetery. Visitation is from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday and continues at 9 a.m. Monday at Brown Funeral Home in Elizabethtown. A prayer service will be held at 5 p.m. during the Sunday visitation. Attendees will be invited to share their memories of Jim, In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, masking is requested. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association.


Sunday, June 5, 2022 from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Brown Funeral Home

Monday, June 6, 2022 from 9:00 AM to 10:45 AM
Brown Funeral Home


Monday, June 6, 2022 starting at 11:00 AM
St. James Catholic Church