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Mr. Merritt Brown Sr.
OUR NAMESAKE:
MR. MERRITT BROWN, SR. (1908-1979)
Merritt Brown, Sr. was born in Blountsville, Alabama, on May 16, 1908. He later moved with his family to Panama City, Florida, and graduated from Panama City High School in 1926. While at Panama City High School, he was President of the student body his senior year and was very active in the school's athletic programs. He participated in football, baseball, and basketball and was the captain of the football and baseball teams his senior year. After high school, Mr. Brown attended the University of Florida where he received his bachelor's degree in education in 1934. That same year he began work at St. Andrew Elementary School as a teacher and principal. In 1942, Mr. Brown was appointed Bay County School Superintendent by the Governor of Florida. He held this appointed position for two years and, in 1944, was elected by the people of the county to an additional four year term. During this elective term, Mr. Brown was faced with the tumultuous "Wainwright Shipyard" days when tens of thousands of people poured into the county to help build liberty ships for the war effort. Schools were forced to operate on double shifts in order to accommodate the educational needs of the increased numbers of students. Mr. Brown voluntarily left the superintendent post in 1948 and returned to the principalship at St. Andrew Elementary School. Two years later in 1950, he was appointed principal of the newly constructed Jinks Jr. High School. He served as Jinks' principal from 1950 until his retirement in 1968. Although retired, Mr. Brown continued to serve the school system as an educational consultant for the District Educational Staff Office. He is also recognized for his outstanding contributions to various state educational committees and served as chairman of the state textbook committee for many years. Additionally, Mr. Brown was a member of the Panama City Kiwanis Club for over forty years and served as a Deacon in the First Baptist Church of Panama City. Mr. Brown is most remembered for his integrity, fairness and compassion.
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