Brown, Walton John (1913–2001)

By Daniel Oscar Plenc

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Daniel Oscar Plenc, Th.D. (River Plate Adventist University, Entre Ríos, Argentina), currently works as a theology professor and director of the White Research Center at the River Plate Adventist University. He worked as a district pastor for twelve years. He is married to Lissie Ziegler and has three children.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Walton John Brown was the son of missionaries, a pastor, educator, writer, musician, and longtime educational manager, and a missionary in North America, South America and Central America.1

Early Years, Studies, and Family (1913–1936)

Born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1913, Walton was the only son of John Lewis Brown (1888–1972) and his wife, Esther Alma Janlowiski. The Browns were missionaries for four decades in Mexico, Spain, El Salvador, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. Walton accompanied his parents in their mission to Central and South America. He was 14 years old when his parents were sent as pioneers to the north of Brazil to create the Lower Amazon Mission based in the city of Belém, state of Pará.2 In August 1927 Walton moved to the United States to study in La Sierra Academy, California. After graduating from high school, Walton returned for one year to the mission field with his parents. He then went to Pacific Union College, California, where he got his higher education degree in 1934. He also studied music, specializing in singing and choir conducting. After graduating, Brown worked as a middle school teacher in San Angelo, Texas, United States; it was there he met Doreen Throgmorton, whom he married in 1936. They had two children: John and Betty.

Missionary in South America (Until 1951)

Walton and Doreen served as missionaries in Brazil. Brown served first as secretary of the Department of Education and YPMV (Department of Young People’s Missionary Volunteer) director at Rio-Minas Gerais Mission, based in Rio de Janeiro. He then directed Petropolis Adventist Academy, near the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro (1942–1943). In 1944 he obtained a master's degree from the University of California. A new destination was Argentina. From 1945 to 1946 he was the Department of Education director at the Austral Union Conference (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay). Afterward Brown directed River Plate Junior College, at Entre Ríos, Argentina, from 1947 to 1951.3

In the United States, Central America, and the General Conference (1953–2001)

Walton J. Brown was the director of Sandia View Academy, near Albuquerque, New Mexico (1953–1955). In 1953 he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in history from the University of Southern California. He continued his ministry in Central America, where he served as president of Antillian Union College, in Santa Clara, Cuba (1955–1960). From 1960 on, Brown served as secretary of education and public relations of the Inter-American Division, and finally at the General Conference, first as associate director of the Department of Education (1967–1974) and later as director of the Education Department (1974–1980) until his retirement. In 1980 Brown was awarded the Medallion of Distinction of the General Conference Department of Education. After his retirement he continued to visit educational institutions in and out of the United States. Besides his doctoral thesis, he wrote books and papers on education, school management, health, music, church history, and Christian lifestyle.4

After a lifetime dedicated to Adventist education, Brown passed away on July 7, 2001, at Sun City, Arizona, United States, after serving the church for 46 years. He left his wife, Doreen; his daughter, Betty Álvarez; and four grandchildren. His son, John C. Brown, had already passed away at the time.5

Brown was also an enthusiast of Christian music and an outstanding choir conductor in many countries.6 He oversaw the 1962 edition of Himnario adventista para uso en el culto divino [Adventist Hymnal for the Sabbath Worship Service]. He left a legacy of genuine missionary spirit, especially with regard to Adventist Christian education.7

Sources

“Adventist Educator Dies.” ARH 178, no. 33 (August 16, 20010).

Brown, Walton John. A Handbook for Seventh-day Adventist School Administrators. Washington, D.C.: Department of Education, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1980.

———. “A Historical Study of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Austral South America.” PhD dissertation, University of Southern California, 1953. 4 volumes.

———. Angels: We Never Walk Alone. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1987.

———. Chronology of Seventh-day Adventist Education. 2a ed. Washington, D.C.: Department of Education, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1979.

———. “El año cincuentenario del CAP” [The Fiftieth Year of the River Plate Junior College]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], February 1949.

———. El privilegio de ser maestro adventista [The Privilege of Being an Adventist Teacher]. Apuntes de clase [Class Notes]. Villa Libertador San Martín: River Plate Junior College, 195?.

———. “Historia del Colegio Adventista del Plata, 1898-1948” [History of the River Plate Junior College, 1898-1948]. La voz del Colegio [Voice of the Academy]. Puiggari, Entre Ríos, Argentina: River Plate Junior College, 1948.

———. Home at Last. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1983.

———. La música en la iglesia [The Music in the Church]. Sl: Department of Education of the Inter-American Division, 1964.

———. Principios de salud [Health Principles]. Lima: Publishing Department of Inca Union College, 1973.

———. The SDA Church in Austral South America: 1731-1949. 1953.

———. Una guía para la administración escolar [A Guide for School Management]. Sl: Department of Education of the Inter-American Division, 1965.

Himnario adventista para uso en el culto divino: nueva edición revisada y ampliada [Adventist Hymnal for the Sabbath Worship Service: New, Reviewed, and Extended Edition]. 1ª ed. Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1962.

Lessa, Rubens. Construtores de Esperança: na trilha dos Pioneiros Adventistas da Amazônia [Hope Builders: On the Trail of the Adventist Pioneers of the Amazon]. Tatuí, SP: Brazil Publishing House, 2016.

“Muere un educador adventista” [Adventist Educator Dies]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review] 102, no. 3 (March 2002).

Plenc, Daniel Oscar. “Melodías de esperanza—I” [Hope Melodies—I]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review] 117, no. 9 (September 2017).

Wensell, Egil H. El poder de una esperanza, que educa y sana [The Power of a Hope That Educates and Heals]. Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos: River Plate Adventist University Editorial, 1993.

Westphal, Barbara Luvern Osborne. John the Intrepid Missionary on Three Continents. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1968.

Notes

  1. Information about Walton John Brown can be found in the biographical book made on his father, John Lewis Brown: Barbara Luvern Osborne Westphal, John the Intrepid Missionary on Three Continents (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1968).

  2. See Rubens S. Lessa, Construtores de Esperança: na Trilha dos Pioneiros Adventistas da Amazônia [Hope Builders: On the Trail of the Adventist Pioneers of the Amazon] (Tatuí, SP: Brazil Publishing House, 2016).

  3. See: Walton J. Brown, “Historia del Colegio Adventista del Plata, 1898-1948” [History of the River Plate Junior College, 1898-1948], La voz del Colegio: Revista publicada por estudiantes de la Universidad Adventista Del Plata [Voice of the Academy: The Review Published by the Students of the River Plate Junior College] (Puiggari, Entre Ríos, Argentina: River Plate Junior College, 1948), 5–13, 32–36; Walton J. Brown, “El año cincuentenario del CAP” [The Fiftieth Year of the River Plate Junior College], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], February 1949, 10, 11; Walton J. Brown, “1949, Año de cooperación” [1949, Year of Cooperation], La voz del Colegio: Revista publicada por estudiantes de la Universidad Adventista Del Plata [Voice of the Academy: The Review Published by the Students of the River Plate Junior College] 27 (Puiggari, Entre Ríos, Argentina: River Plate Junior College, 1949), 6, 7, 14; Egil H. Wensell, El poder de una esperanza, que educa y sana [The Power of a Hope That Educates and Heals] (Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos, Argentina: River Plate Adventist University Editorial, 1993).

  4. The following works by W. J. Brown are recorded in the catalog of the Library of the River Plate Adventist University, Argentina: Walton John Brown, “A Historical Study of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Austral South America,” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Southern California, 1953); Walton John Brown, The SDA Church in Austral South America: 1731-1949 (1953); Walton John Brown, El privilegio de ser maestro adventista [The Privilege of Being an Adventist Teacher]. Apuntes de clase [Class Notes] (Villa Libertador San Martín: River Plate Junior College, 195?); Walton John Brown, La música en la iglesia (Sl: Department of Education of the Inter-American Division, 1964); Walton John Brown, Una guía para la administración escolar [A Guide for School Management] (Sl: Department of Education of the Inter-American Division, 1965); Walton John Brown, Principios de salud [Health Principles] (Lima: Publishing Department of Inca Union College, 1973); Walton John Brown, Chronology of Seventh-day Adventist Education, 2a ed. (Washington, D.C.: Department of Education, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1979); Walton John Brown, A Handbook for Seventh-day Adventist School Administrators (Washington, D.C.: Department of Education, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1980); Walton John Brown, Home at Last (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1983); Walton John Brown, Angels: We Never Walk Alone (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1987).

  5. “Muere un educador adventista” [Adventist Educator Dies], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review] 102, no. 3 (March 2002): 17; “Adventist Educator Dies,”,Adventist Review 178, no. 33 (August 16, 2001): 20.

  6. Probably the first Adventist 78 rpm disc in Spanish of Austral Union Conference territory was recorded by Coro Armonías del Paraná [Choir Harmonies of Paraná], directed by Walton J. Brown and René Chaskelis. See: Daniel Oscar Plenc, “Melodías de esperanza—I” [Hope Melodies—I]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review] 117, no. 9 (September 2017): 9.

  7. The Himnario adventista para uso en el culto divino [Adventist Hymnal for the Sabbath Worship Service], in 1962 in Spanish, was prepared by commissions of the Inter-American Division and the South American Division under the coordination of Walton J. Brown. See: Himnario adventista para uso en el culto divino: nueva edición revisada y ampliada [Adventist Hymnal for the Sabbath worship service: new, reviewed and extended edition], 1ª ed. (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1962).

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Plenc, Daniel Oscar. "Brown, Walton John (1913–2001)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=4I6X.

Plenc, Daniel Oscar. "Brown, Walton John (1913–2001)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access June 27, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=4I6X.

Plenc, Daniel Oscar (2020, January 29). Brown, Walton John (1913–2001). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 27, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=4I6X.