As his brown open casket lay at the brink of the stage at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena on July 24, the lingering pain of the tragic death of Stinson Brown Jr. was felt by several hundred who attended his funeral services. Brown was shot and slain in Baldwin Hills on July 17. He was 21 years old.
The son of Los Angeles Police Sergeant Stinson Brown Sr., and the daughter of businesswoman Denise Brown, a member of Los Angeles Mass Choir and the Los Angeles Southwest College football team where he was to begin his final season for his uncle and head coach Henry Washington, young Stinson had a life of promise in front of him.
Much of which was detailed at his home going services, such as his entrepreneurial skills and his gentle smile and caring spirit that lift those who knew and met him.
“I am sure that if those two young men who killed my son would have met him, they would not have done what they did,” said Brown Sr.
Bishop Noel Jones eulogized Brown Jr. as a “young man who should have lived for 40, 50, 60, 80 years,” and did not deserve to have this life cut down so soon.
Bishop Jones says that he was angry, and instead of going out of town decided to deliver the eulogy to send a message.
“We all try to wrestle and come to some sort of conclusion that would bring us comfort in a moment like this. He’s in a better place, or God has called him home. If that be the case why are more people not rushing to go to that place to be called home by God?”
A personal letter from his father, which was printed in the obituary, revealed a typical day between the father and son.
“Did you call your mom today. What’s up Doc,” read portions of it. Then it went on to explain the tremendous void left behind by the loss of his only son.
Brown Jr. had aspirations of becoming a professional football player and for years was a standout in both football and basketball.
I remember serving as his youth basketball coach with the Fightin’ Knights. He was just 11 years old then and among one of the most talented and likable players on the team.
Â Former Major League Baseball star Eric Davis, Asst. Police Chief Earl Paysinger, several hundred members of the LAPD and the LAPD Cadets were in attendance.
The family received commendations and resolutions from County Board of Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas who was in attendance, and Assembly members Curren Price, Isadore Hall and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villraigosa.
One speaker remarked that he had not seen as many police officers since the services of Deputy Kenneth Garner
“My mother always told me to never put a question mark where God puts a period,” said Paysinger who helped to train Brown Sr.
Davis attended Fremont High School with the deceased mother Denise, and left his duties as Cincinnati Reds General Manager to be there for the family.
One of the more emotional moments of the services occurred when one of Brown Jr. childhood friends and choir members sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
We all wish that this wasn’t that change. For Stinson Brown Jr., who will be missed by a legion of family and friends-the void he leaves is enormous.