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Roll Call Tribute

Charles "Buddy" McGown Jr. '51 November 14, 2023 2:42 PM updated: November 14, 2023 2:48 PM

Charles Brooks "Buddy" McGown Jr. 
December 20, 1924 ~ October 19, 2023 

Charles Brooks “Buddy” McGown, Jr. was born December 20, 1924, to Lela “Fallin” and Charles Brooks McGown, Sr. in Mexia, Texas. On October 19, 2023, he entered his Eternal Home where he is now directing God’s heavenly band and singing with the angels.

He spent his childhood in Mexia and graduated from Mexia High School in 1941 where he was student band director and first-chair clarinet. At the age of 16, he earned his student pilot license, thus beginning his lifelong passion for flying.

In 1941, Buddy entered Sam Houston College seeking a degree in music. WWII interrupted college in 1943 when Buddy volunteered and entered the Army. Hearing that additional pilots were needed, he applied and was accepted to flight school at George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, only to be told the day of his graduation that they had too many pilots and he was assigned to the 33rd Armored Division in the European Theater, earning battle stars in the Battle of Munich and the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. His service led him through France, Belgium, Germany, and Austria. Following his honorable discharge in 1946, He returned to Southern Methodist University and Sam Houston where he received his degree in music in 1947. Through the following years he continued his education receiving his Master of Education degree from Texas A&M University in 1951 and post graduate study at Texas A&M as well as Baylor University.

After his first year as band director in Dayton, Texas, he was hired by Bryan Independent Schools as director of bands for Stephen F. Austin High School and Lamar Junior High. He remained close friends with many of his band members over the years and shared many memories with them such as marching in the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans.

During Christmas break of 1949, Buddy went home to Mexia. His mother had arranged a blind date for him with a beautiful brunette she had seen in a wedding. Her name was Jeane Matthews of Hubbard, Texas. Just 8 days after they met, Buddy proposed, and she said Yes! They were married six months later, moved into the new home they built, and began their 73 years of happiness and adventures. Karen and Mike completed their family.

In 1961, BISD asked Buddy to become Bonham Elementary School’s first principal; and in 1967, he became the first principal at Henderson Elementary School. During this time, he became a reading specialist and enjoyed tutoring students who were struggling in reading class. He made them feel as if they were chosen to spend extra time with Mr. McGown. He moved to BISD Central Office in 1975 as Assistant Superintendent in Personnel. Many people in the BCS Community will tell you that he gave them their first job. Buddy was instrumental in leading Texas legislators to establish merit pay for exceptional teachers. He and Jeane retired in 1986 ending his 38-year career in BISD.

Always active in the Bryan community, Buddy was a member of the Rotary Club, the Bryan City Library Board (he suggested the site of the new library) and the Coulter Field Advisory Board. He was instrumental in obtaining a federal grant to build an additional runway at Coulter Field.

As a member of First Methodist Church, Bryan for 75 years, he was active in the Men’s Bible Class serving as its president and song leader, the Celebration Choir, the Administrative Board, and the Board of Trustees.

Continuing his work with children, he volunteered as an assistant Boy Scout master and serving on the Board of Trustees. He assisted the scouts in their first endeavor of displaying American flags on patriotic holidays. Buddy was active in Little League North baseball for many years as a coach and president of the League.

Buddy was truly an outdoorsman and enjoyed working on his farm near Wheelock, hunting with his son, grandsons, great grandsons, and friends. He also enjoyed racing his Austin-Healey sports car; and if you ever rode with him, you knew why he won many trophies. Many memories were also made behind his boat as he taught his kids and their friends to water ski.

In 1976, Buddy fulfilled his dream of owning his own airplane, a classic Cessna 140 and 3-years later a Cessna 170 which were both taildraggers. Jeane and Buddy enjoyed many years of fly-ins and annual conventions as members of The International Cessna 170 Association where he served on the Board of Directors. At the age of 91, Buddy decided it was time to stop flying and he sold his plane to a corporate pilot who is enjoying the plane as much as Buddy.

Buddy McGown was a man who loved life, but most importantly he loved and supported his family and friends. He served his Lord by serving others. He was never too busy when someone needed him. One just can’t talk about Buddy without adding how much he loved to tell jokes. You name the subject, he had a joke. He was responsible for telling a joke every Wednesday at the Arbor Oaks exercise class. He was a member of the Greatest Generation and Buddy McGown lived this title. He will be greatly missed but has left a wonderful legacy for his grandchildren and greatgrandchildren who knew him well and adored him.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Marilyn and her husband Wilson Godfrey.

Survivors include his beloved wife of 73 years Jeane; daughter Karen and her husband Rudy Loehr of Bryan; son Mike and his wife Judy McGown of Lake Conroe; grandchildren Valerie (Josh) Floren of Coppell; Bryson (Sarah) Vick of Bryan; Preston (Sarah) Loehr of Bryan; Colton (Kelsey) Loehr of Aurora, Colorado; Lesley (Cade) Price of Anderson; and Hunter (Maddie) McGown of Keller; greatgrandchildren Jackson, Brooks, and Charlotte Floren; Lightsey and Peyton Loehr; Sadie Price; and Hallie Loehr (two more greatgrandchildren due in the Spring); nephews Mark Matthews and Mike Matthews; and numerous cousins and friends.

Charles Brooks “Buddy” McGown, Jr., 1924 – 2023. This story of his life represents the DASH between those years.

Visitation will be at Callaway-Jones Funeral Home in Bryan on Thursday, October 26th from 6-8:00 PM. A Celebration of Life will be held at Bryan First Methodist Church on Friday, October 27th at 2:00 PM. Interment will follow the service at Restever Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family extends gratitude to caregivers Donnyelle Burns, Urica Drake, Jasmyne Clark and the staff and residents of Crestview Arbor Oaks, and family and friends who exemplify love and compassion.

Memorials may be made to:

Bryan First Methodist Church, 506 E. 28th St, Bryan, TX 77803
BISD Education Foundation, 801 S. Ennis St, Bryan, TX 77803
Crestview/Arbor Oaks, 2505 E. Villa Maria Rd, Bryan, TX 77802


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