Max Brown, WWII Marine (Part 1)

Max Brown, in uniform.

Max Brown was in his late 70s when I met him. He was a towering figure of a very refined gentleman. You could tell that his “parents raised him correctly” as my mother used to tell me. He always held the door for his lovely wife, Shirley and I when we went places together and he always had great stories of his youth or days gone by even if they were just last week!

We had a lot of good times, and he will be missed by many of us who served with him in organizations. The Greatest Generation has become a term to describe American’s of WWII and Max Brown epitomized the best of that connotation.

Max grew up in Colorado and we knew a lot of the same stomping grounds. He was from the Glenwood Springs and Rifle area. He had most of the traits that girls in the immediately following generation were taught to admire in a man – belief and faith in God, he knew the value of family having been raised with 4 sibling brothers, honoring his mother and father, love and care for nature, and love of children

He talked about working in the mountains with his brothers to help his dad in the forest as he was a Forest Service employee when it was very new.

Max’s dad worked to build The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs as a Master Carpenter and Max was very proud of that. He thought his dad could do anything.

Max did a lot of the silly boy things and in my mind was the essential little boy growing up; scaring girls with pig tails; playing in the mud; fishing; hiking and wondering off course but never lost; playing football and other sports; catching a burro in the mountains; getting crossed by a porcupine; helping dad with lots of great projects; learning to dance; flirting with the girls…hh yes, this was one of his most endearing traits and reminded me so much of my husband.

His smile was infectious, and it wouldn’t be but a minute or two of being around him and you were smiling, too! His manners were impeccable as well.

He graduated high school, enrolled in college, enrolled in the V12 Marine Corps program, and had several jobs working his way through. He often told of his days shoeing horses in Estes Park as a way to make money.

 

Max and Shirley.

He had purchased a used DeSoto. I remembered that well because my uncle had one when I was very young. It was during those days he met the love of his life, Shirley Gunston!

Their story was a lot like mine and Tony’s – love at first sight! His pickup line was “Baby, where have you been all my life!” Cheesy but effective to the lovely young woman who caught his eye across a crowded room. It reminded me of the song, “Some Enchanted Evening!” They dated some and after a bad car accident, he started driving a taxi…

His fare on December 7, 1941 when the attack was announced were two little old ladies and he told me how he could think of nothing but getting into the fight! It was as though his entire focus in life was switched like turning on a light! It took very little time for him to join the Marine Corps and start that part of his life.

Part 2 will be posted soon

Paula Sarlls, President of  the USMC Memorial Foundation

Paula Sarlls, President of the USMC Memorial Foundation

Paula Sarlls served in USMC ’67-’71 as an air controller at Quantico, VA MCAS. Paula worked for over 30 years for the VA, IRS, US Customs Service and DHS, and retired 2004 with numerous awards. The programs she created have been used nationally for decades. Her enforcement operations resulted in the seizure of over $1 million in illegal merchandise.

Paula owned two businesses, PS Tax Service and P & T Candles. She is a veterans advocate, President of the Women Marines Association CO-1 and former national President ( ’05 – ’08). She is a member of the Marine Corps League, US Marine Corps Memorial Association, Aurora Defense Council, United Veterans Committee of Colorado, American Legion, and is an Honorary Board member of the Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation, and Honorary Commander of 140th Wing – Colorado Air National Guard ’15 – ’16.

She was the SW Region and Colorado “Daughters of the American Revolution” Veteran Volunteer of the Year in 2020. She received the Colorado Veteran Volunteer of the Year in 2015 and many other awards including the Civilian Marksmanship Program Patriot Award in 2013.

Paula is the mother of one daughter.

She is a Gold Star widow and sister-in-law.

Max Brown, Part 3

Max Brown, WWII Marine (Part 3) Max Brown, in uniform. Max found his college sweetheart, Shirley, and they married on Flag Day, 1946!  When I

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Max Brown, Part 2

Max Brown, WWII Marine (Part 2) Max Brown, in uniform. Max’s military chapter begins when he is 15, after seeing his brother join the Colorado

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