Dr. Roy W. Browning, Jr., 92, of Topeka, passed away Thursday, February 18, 2021.
He was born October 2, 1928, in Oketo, Kansas, the son of Roy W. Browning, Sr. and Elva B. (Ward) Browning.
While Roy’s service to community and country gave him great purpose, his strong Christian faith and love for his family, were the hallmarks of his life. Married to Geraldine L. Green on December 27, 1950 in Courtland, KS, they recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Roy’s family includes his wife, Gerry; his children, Roy (Karlene) Browning, III of Olathe, Christy (J.D.) Holt of Topeka, and Julie (Rick) Loevenstein of Shawnee; nine grandchildren, Kamden, Karina, Shaylene, Christopher, Sharise, Lindsay, Derek, Mark and Kurt; six great grandchildren, Addison, Tyler, Eve, Ezra, Titus and Carver; and his sister, Marilyn (Al) Keefer of Ottawa.
Thursday, February 18, 2021 was the greatest day in Roy’s life because that is the day he was finally Home and was able to see his Savior face-to-face for the very first time. It cannot be comprehended what he saw and heard. In the midst of this sadness, we also look up to heaven and smile knowing that his eyesight is perfect, and he is gazing with love and worship into the eyes of his Lord and Savior. In fact, Gerry (the love of Roy’s life) said although the day she lost Roy was the saddest day of her life, it was the happiest day of his life.
Roy will be missed not just for what he did in his lifetime but for his character--the essence of Roy Browning: his counsel, his wisdom, his infectious smile, his sense of humor, his love of his family, and his love and awe of God. Everyone will miss hearing him pray to his Father and hearing him share with his family how wonderful his Savior is. It is a sad time for all of his family and friends. But at the same time, there is unspeakable joy for a life well-lived and a legacy that has and will endure for generations to come.
Words are so inadequate to try to describe this man, although Roy could probably come up with the right words, for he was a master with his words. He touched many lives through his spoken words, his written words, and the simple way he lived life. He once wrote, “Always remember that although the hours and years may seem to belong to man, the centuries belong to God. No person knows what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the Future! It is for this reason that we should never fear the future. In the meantime, live life to its fullest; and use your God-given talents and abilities in service to God and others!”
Roy was one of the most beautiful examples of our heavenly Father’s love for us. The great times with Roy included laughter, conversations, mentoring, compassion, and encouragement. If you knew Roy, these words should bring a flood of smiles and memories: Rummikub, kite-flying, balloon animals, state quarters, parachute tents in the backyard, slip & slides, giant bubbles, water balloon launchers, $2 bills, talking with everyone and anyone everywhere and anywhere, greeting you whether he knew your name or not (and the importance of a good, firm handshake), and finally, trips, trips, & more trips!
Whether known as Roy, Daddy, or Papoo, this servant of God will be greatly missed by family and friends. His family will be gathering privately at a later date to celebrate his life. A man of great accomplishment on earth, those successes dim in the light of His glory and grace. He finished the race, and we celebrate his Homegoing with joy and thanksgiving.
Roy earned several degrees over a lifetime of learning beginning with his graduation from Ottawa University (’50) and culminating in a Doctorate of Education from the University of Kansas (’68). Roy taught at the middle school, high school, and university levels. After completing an additional Master of Science degree from Emporia State (’60), Roy moved to Central Administration in public schools. Dr. Browning retired in 1991 as Assistant Superintendent of Continuing Education Services, USD 501 (Topeka).
After receiving his Master of Divinity from Phillips University (’55), Roy served as a chaplain in the United States Air Force on active and reserve duty for 32 years, retiring with the rank of Colonel. He was stationed at Strategic Air Command Headquarters at the end of his military service, where he served as advisor to the Command Chaplain and was tasked with overseeing the mobilization readiness of the reserve chaplaincy corps. Roy was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding service to the USAF.
Roy was a member of the West Side Christian Church, Topeka, for over 60 years serving in various roles, including Elder, Sunday School teacher, and member of the worship and long-range planning committees. He was also a past moderator of the Christian Church in Kansas, a member of the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and on the Board of Trustees for Phillips University and the Kansas Christian Home at Newton.
He actively participated in numerous professional and civic organizations at local, state, and national levels. He has been a member of the Downtown Topeka Rotary Club since 1963, served as President of the local chapter, and was a District Governor for Rotary International in 1993-94. Roy was honored to serve on the Board of Trustees at Ottawa University for numerous terms and he chaired the Academic Affairs Committee. He is a past President of the OU Alumni Association.
Dr. Browning was a long-time member of the American Red Cross Capital Area chapter where he was on the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Personnel Committee. Community health was an important involvement for Roy as he was on the Advisory Boards for Stormont-Vail Hospital, the Topeka/Shawnee County Health Department, and the Topeka State Hospital. Roy was a founding member and past president of the Topeka Fellowship, Inc. which hosts the annual Kansas Prayer Breakfast. He was the Program Chairman or Co-Chairman for over 20 years.
Roy traveled widely throughout the world during his lifetime. Whether traveling for education/business or just for pleasure with his wife, Gerry, and/or his children, and/or his extended family, Roy has seen and photographed many places others can only read about or see on video. He loved saying, “Any day that you get to travel is a good day!” He is now getting to travel on the greatest trip of his life and seeing sites beyond anything we could ever imagine. While on earth his travels included 5 trips to Europe and 3 trips to the Far East. He and Gerry visited all 50 states, and international travels have taken them to India, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Guam, and other nations, including Canada and Mexico.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Roy Browning Scholarship Fund at Ottawa University. Please designate gifts “In Memory of Roy Browning.” To give electronically, please use this link: www.ottawa.edu/makeagift. Mail gifts to Ottawa University, Attn: Advancement Office - Roy Browning Fund, 1001 S. Cedar St., Ottawa, KS 66067
Dove Cremations and Funerals – Southwest Chapel, 3700 SW Wanamaker Rd., Topeka, KS 66610 is assisting the family.
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Entombment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery, 4700 SW 17th Street, Topeka, KS 66604.