South Los Angeles and Inglewood lost a heralded advocate in the person of Dr. James Vernon Brown, who passed away on October 15. He was 74-years-old.
Highly regarded for his business acumen, James played a leading role in developing shopping centers in L.A.’s Crenshaw and Vermont-Slauson districts. He also donated his time and talents to uplifting the small business community in Inglewood.
The life of Dr. Brown will be celebrated on Saturday, November 27, at 11 a.m., at Academy Cathedral, located at 3141 W. Manchester Blvd. in Inglewood. COVID-19 protocols will be observed.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, James was born on July 4, 1947 to James and Ossa Brown. Educated in the Columbus public school system, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and Spanish literature from Ohio State University and both Master’s and PhD in urban affairs and economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Professionally, he excelled in all facets of banking and finance and applied his knowledge to help establish the Revolving Loan Program under Mayor Tom Bradley. He also worked as an accountant and tax preparer in Inglewood for more than 26 years.
James possessed strong faith in God and shared his gifts with several ministries. At Guidance Church of Religious Science, he served as a trustee and on the board of directors. He also enjoyed the worship at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church and First Lutheran Church of Venice. In 1992, he united with Academy Cathedral and faithfully attended services, contributed to church activities and cheerfully shared his tithes and offerings.
Also in 1992, James met the love of his life. According to family members, “James was driving down the street in December of that year when he saw this beautiful woman carrying packages. He noticed that she dropped a box, and asked if she needed help.” Carol replied, “If you would like to.”
James parked his car and they exchanged similar stories of helping people. Carol shared that her mother was ill in the hospital in Detroit at Christmas time. James immediately said, “Let’s pray.” Carol thought, “Wow! A man that knows how to pray,” and she thanked God. These two beautiful vessels joined in holy matrimony in 1993.
Cherishing the memory of James are his beloved wife, Giselle Carol Raines-Brown; his sons, Dan Raines, Anthony Raines, Emanuel Tian Raines, Aaron Brown and Christopher Brown; sister, Diane Elder of Columbus Ohio; grandchildren, Sierra Raines, Maniya Raines, Heaven Raines, Laylah Raines, Amir Raines, Kaityln Raines and Italy Raines.
His godchildren include Shronda Walker, Chantel Heath, Kaiya Farmer, Britney Lane, Letesha Miller, Shalita Williams, Tasha Jones, Cameron Washington, Nakiesha Grier, Falyn Kingi, Rickisha James, Sharlotte Taylor, Ivory Bolton, Jamar Beasley, Kelvin Perry, Larry Johnson, DeMarcus Johnson, Lakeisha Johnson and Joshua Ford.
Condolences and donations may be submitted via Zelle at 310-256-6801 or mailed to P.O. Box 2424, Inglewood CA 90305. Flowers may be sent to Academy Cathedral, 3141 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305.