James Ray Brown


James Ray Brown was born the son of a sharecropper into a family that believed in prayer and faith.

He knew what hard work was from walking behind the plows in cotton fields to the life of a commercial fisherman in the waters of the Tennessee River. He experienced many occasions where a situation was changed from danger to deliverance.

He was the son of the late Lois Birdie Borden Brown and Robert Lee Brown. His great-grandson, William Clayton Miller; his sisters, Alma Brown Truesdale and Barbara Brown Cheek; and his brothers, William Brown, J.D. Brown, Kenneth Brown, Jerry Brown and Larry Brown, also preceded him in death.

He voluntarily joined the Alabama National Guard unit in 1949, which was mobilized to Korea in January 1951. He served 15 months in Korea as a demolition specialist, working with engineers building roads, bridges, etc. using explosives such as dynamite, tetrytol, C-3 and others to blow out mountains to obtain rock to be used in building roads. Because of a praying mother along with a group praying at his home church, the Lord miraculously delivered his entire company from enemy hands. Upon his return home, he re-enlisted in the U.S. Army serving, his country in Austria, Germany and France. During the time away from family, friends and church, he drifted away from the faith. However, looking back over the days away from family, the Lord was protecting him and bringing him safely home.

In 1956, he married his “next door neighbor,” a young lady named Carolyn whom he had known from childhood since they attended the same church. They left for Dallas, Texas, after the wedding on their honeymoon. Other family members were living in Texas and work was more plentiful. Eight years and four children later, he and the family returned to Alabama.

In 1962, he experienced a life-changing encounter with the Lord and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. His life was completely changed. The Rev. Brown accepted the calling of the Lord to preach His Word. He served the Lord and the Church of God as pastor, evangelist, State Counsel member and District overseer. He ministered in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina and Tennessee. He built five churches and remodeled/updated other churches and parsonage facilities with his wife faithfully supporting him. He put his hammer on his side, shovel in his hand, and was assisted by his young sons and the volunteers that came by to help. The Lord blessed his ministry with many miracles of salvation for the soul, healing for the body, restoration of families and financial miracles in the lives of individuals and families. He pastored from 1965 to 2008 when health issues forced him to retire. However, he never failed to share with others the blessings and faithfulness of the Lord. He was an ordained as bishop with the Church of God and a member of the North Cleveland Church of God, the Unity Sunday School Class and the Peacemakers group.

Survived by his wife, Carolyn, of 66 years of marriage; his sister, Mavis Daley of Madison, Alabama; four children, James Ray Brown Jr. (Michele) of Lincoln, Alabama, Veronica J. Plyler of Collinsville, Alabama, Michael B. Brown (Elizabeth Ann) of Athens, and Dr. Edward L. Brown (Reneé) of Cleveland; 10 grandchildren, Donna Brown, Stephanie Brown Morrow, James Robert Brown (Emily), Joshua Douglas Plyler (Elizabeth), Dr. Brandon Plyler (Sarah), Hannah Elizabeth Brown Holland, (Dr. Nicholas Holland), Rachel Grace Brown Scruggs (Joshua), Dr. Sarah Catherine "Cassie" Brown, Ryan Richardson (Heather) and Dr. Rhonda Graham (Keith); 25 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandson is expected in a couple of months.

The Remembrance of Life service will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, at North Cleveland Church of God, Dixon Chapel, with Pastor Mark Williams, Dr. Lamar Vest and Chaplain Doug Murray officiating.

Graveside services and interment will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the Chattanooga National Cemetery with grandsons, Joshua Plyler, Brandon Plyler, Nicholas Holland, Joshua Scruggs, Ryan Richardson and Keith Graham serving as casket bearers. Military honors will be given.

Special thanks to the team caregivers with Hospice of Chattanooga, Chelsea, Ginger, Dawn and Chaplain Doug, and also to Sara and Sherry with Home Instead for their loving care during the time of illness.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be directed to North Cleveland Church of God, NorthStar outreach program.

The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m. on Monday at the church.

The Jim Rush Funeral and Cremation Services, North Ocoee Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

You may share your memories and condolences with the Brown family at

For family and friends who cannot attend the service, you can watch the service by Live Stream by going to the church's website,



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