Donald Ralph Brown Jr.



Donald Ralph Brown Jr., age 49, a native of Detroit, Michigan and a resident of Seymour, Indiana, passed away on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at Baptist Health Floyd in New Albany, Indiana after a long, courageous battle against cancer. He was born on September 10, 1974 to Donald R. Brown Sr. and Carol (Brumm) Brown of Fort Gratiot, Michigan. On June 21, 1997, he married his college sweetheart, Melissa Smith, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Clinton Township, Michigan. Donald was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church for over 21 years.

He was a 1992 graduate of Mount Clemens High School in Mount Clemens, Michigan. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, with a major in Art and minor in Chemistry, from Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois in 1997 and received his Master’s degree in Secondary Education and School Administration from Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana in 2008.

Donald began his teaching career as an art teacher at Harper Woods High School in Harper Woods, Michigan. In 2002, he and Melissa moved to Indiana where he taught art, chemistry, and technology at Trinity Lutheran High School. In 2011, Donald began teaching art at Seymour High School where he also served as the fine arts department chair and National Honor Society advisor. Donald had a passion for teaching and loved his art classes. He strove to work one on one with each art student during class. Wanting to always give his students his all, it was not until his illness that he took a step back from the classroom.

He was a talented artist and craftsman. He especially enjoyed drawing, pastels, ceramics, creating digital art in Photoshop, building websites, and creating over the top school projects with his kids. He shared his love of art with his children by teaching them how to draw with pastels. He was an avid bowler. He bowled on numerous bowling leagues and earned two 300 rings. He was a lifelong Detroit Lions fan. He loved the singing artist, “P!nk” and was looking forward to taking his girls to their first P!nk concert. He shared his love of movies and Transformers with his children. He will forever be remembered as an intelligent, talented, and hardworking man with a sarcastic sense of humor, which shined through even in the midst of his illness.

He was a beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, and son and will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved him and each life that he touched in his own special way.

Donald is survived by his parents, his beloved wife of 26 years, Melissa (Smith) Brown, one son, Ryan Brown, two daughters, Lauren Brown and Madison Brown. His sister, Amy Thornton (Ron) of St. Clair, Michigan, brother, Michael Brown (Nickole) of Madison Heights, Michigan and sister, Tricia Piccininni (Michael) of Warren, Michigan. His father in law and mother in law, Dennis and Carolyn Smith of Melbourne, Florida. His sister in law, Leslie (Brad) Cryderman of Riley, Michigan and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents and his sister in law, Erin Regal.

The family will receive friends on Friday, November 17, 2023 from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM at Christensen Family Funeral Home – Seymour Chapel. Visitation will resume on Saturday, November 18, 2023 from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Funeral services will begin at 11:00 AM at the church with Pastor Ralph Blomenberg, Pastor Philip Bloch, Pastor James Rodriguez, Jr. and Pastor William Fredstrom officiating. He will be laid to rest at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery.

Memorials can be made to the Don Brown Memorial Art Fund.

Gifts may be made to the Community Foundation of Jackson County through its website,, by clicking on DONATE NOW. This will take you to a PayPal portal. The Foundation asks that you also send an email to them indicating that you have made a PayPal donation and that you want your gift directed as a memorial for Don Brown.

You may also mail checks to the Foundation. Please make the check payable to Community Foundation of Jackson County and include “Memorial for Don Brown” in the memo line. Checks may be mailed to the Foundation at Post Office Box 1231, Seymour, IN 47274.

Friends are invited to leave condolence messages for the family at

Daniel and Betsy Christensen have been entrusted with the arrangements.

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