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Bobby Ray Brown

Bobby Ray Brown, 78, of Harvard, Illinois, died Wednesday, October 15, 2014, at Mercy Janesville Hospital in Janesville, Wisconsin.

He was born February 28, 1936 in Vidette, Arkansas, to Bert and Nora (Johnson) Brown. He graduated from Viola High School in Arkansas in 1954. On August 4, 1956, he married Shirley Strubing in Harvard. Bobby worked at Auto Lite, Admiral, St. Joseph Hospital, and retired from Chrysler in 1999 after working there for 30 years.

He loved baseball, coached Belvidere Blades in the community baseball league, and his favorite team was the St. Louis Cardinals. Bobby also played on several area teams that included Woodstock, Belvidere and Rockford. He enjoyed deer hunting in his younger days, along with being a part of a camping club, auto mechanics, auctions, fishing with his son, grandchildren, daughter, and brothers, and spending time with his McDonald’s coffee group. He was always ready to joke and tease his grandkids, and loved having them over for sleepovers.

He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Harvard, Harvard Moose Lodge since 1975, and the UAW.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley Brown; his children, Patricia (Barry) Kohl, Jerry (Susan) Brown, Sandra (Mike) Luerssen [of Cabool, Missouri], Melissa (Chad) Oerkfitz, and Sara (Tom) Long; his grandchildren, Beth, Jeff, Emily, Cassandra, Rachael, Nora, Seth, Grace, and Olivia Kohl, Ryan Joshua, Jared, and Matthew Luerssen, Greg Chaney, Riley and Justin Oerkfitz, and Ella, Alyssa, and Nathan Long; 12 great-grandchildren; a brother, Bill (Mona) Brown; two sisters, Betty (Guy) Johnston and Evelyn (Devon) Smith; a sister-in-law, Lola Mae Brown; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded by his parents, Bert and Nora Brown; his father- and mother-in-law, Emil and Calla Strubing; a grandson, Royce Ray Oerkfitz; two brothers, Marcus (Louise) Brown and Lefal Brown; a sister, Belle (Roy) Foster; and a brother-in-law, Norman Strubing.

Funeral services were at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, October 18, 2014, at First United Methodist Church, 1100 North Division Street, Harvard, Illinois, with Rev. Eric Blachford officiating. Interment was at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church in Harvard.

Family and friends may leave an online condolence at

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