Joseph Griffin Brownlee, 86, passed away Thursday, December 11, 2008 at his home. Joe was born April 12, 1922 in Knoxville to the late John Wylie and Emma Griffin Brownlee. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as a Deacon and was an active member and past president of the James Park Sunday School Class. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army during World War II where he served in France and England and was on Normandy Beach on June 6, 1944. Joe was a member of the 360th Engineer Regiment and he loved being part of an Army band. Joe attended The Webb School, Bell Buckle, TN, Knoxville High School, The Citadel, Charleston, SC and the University of Tennessee where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. In 1947, he started Brownlee Construction Company here in Knoxville. From 1952 until 1980, he partnered with T.H.D. Kesterson where they subsequently built many hospitals, schools, hotels, water treatment facilities and more throughout the southeast. Brownlee Construction Company still thrives to this day, operated by Joe’s sons and grandsons. A true patriot, Joe was also a committed Sertoman. He was a charter member of the Downtown Sertoma Club here in Knoxville, and was later named as District Governor. Joe was actively involved in starting several new Sertoma clubs throughout the area, a venture which gave him great satisfaction. He was also instrumental in forming the Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC) here in Knoxville. He is a past president of Sertoma, ABC, Junior Achievement, the Tennessee Valley Appaloosa Horse Club, the American Scotch Highland Cattle Association, the Tennessee Businessmen’s Association and the Tennessee Chapter of the American Sons of the Revolution. Joe grew up on a 100 acre farm in Gatlinburg which was later deeded over to the National Park Service. Because of his great love of the mountains, Joe was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed camping, fly fishing and pheasant hunting throughout his lifetime. He became a pilot in 1947, and Joe loved to fly – he spent countless hours flying business friends, personal friends, and family to various destinations throughout the country. During his lifetime, he enjoyed many other hobbies as well, including playing his trombone, playing ice hockey, photography, woodworking, raising and showing Appaloosa horses, playing golf (which he took up at age 76), and traveling with his wife, Honey, as well as his children and grandchildren. Joe’s greatest joy in life was spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren, and his many friends sharing in love and laughter. His eternal optimism, self confidence, responsible nature and enthusiasm for life was contagious. Joe is survived by his wife, Aileen McFall Brownlee; six children and their spouses, Joseph Griffin Brownlee, Jr. and wife, Jeannette, Wylie Mackey Brownlee and wife, Debby, Sherra Sowards Gillespie and husband, John, Sheila Sowards Bertelkamp and husband, Bert, and Scott Henry Sowards and wife, Kristi all of Knoxville, and Robin Brownlee Giddings and husband, Doc, of Pickens, South Carolina; 17 grandchildren, March W. Chadwick and wife, Susan, John R. H. Chadwick, Joseph Griffin Brownlee III, Heath M. Brownlee and wife, Lindsey, W. Mackey Brownlee, Jr., Craig B.. Brownlee and wife, Laura, Bobby L. Garrard, Allie B. Giddings, MD, Sarah Brownlee Giddings, Mary W. Giddings, Jack H. Gillespie, Jane Brownlee Bertelkamp, Lillian S. Bertelkamp, Henry Barron Bertelkamp, Erika J. Baker, P. Brooke Sowards, and Henry S. Sowards, Jr. Family and friends will meet Saturday at Highland Memorial Cemetery for a 1:00 P.M. interment service with military honors. Grandsons and sons-in-law will serve as pallbearers. There will be a Celebration of Life Worship Service 2:00 P.M. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Knoxville with Rev. Dr. William Pender, Rev. Dr. William R. Barron and Rev. Dr. Paul Rader officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at the church. Members of the James Park Sunday School Class will serve as honorary pallbearers. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 620 State Street, Knoxville, TN 37902, or Sertoma of Knoxville, 1400 East 5th Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917. Arrangements by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.” Tags: 1944

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