Howard Brown
In Memory of
Howard Cassell
1931 - 2019
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Obituary for Howard Cassell Brown

Howard Cassell  Brown
Howard C. Brown, age 88, Erwin, passed away Friday, August 16, 2019 at Center on Aging while surrounded by his family. He was born March 30, 1931 in Dante, Virginia, but his family moved to Erwin, Tennessee, while he was still a small child. He has lived in Erwin most of his life.

His father was Pat Abernathy Brown and his mother was Zelma Cassell Brown. Pat was born in Ashford, North Carolina and Zelma was born in Dante, Virginia.

Howard was married to the love of his life Bernice Carter December 19, 1953. Howard has a daughter, Lori Beth Estridge, Brentwood, Tennessee, son-in-law, John Estridge; son, Lee Howard Brown, Flag Pond, Tennessee, daughter-in-law, Denise Hardin Brown, special granddaughter, Morgan Lee Brown, Fort Collins, Colorado who called him “Grandy”, and brother, Dick Cody Brown, Louisville, Kentucky.

He was educated in the Unicoi County school system, graduated from Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tennessee, in 1953 with a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering and did post-graduate studies in structural engineering at the University of Tennessee. He also completed the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association's Certified Power Executive training program.

Howard began his working career with Goforth Engineering as a survey crew member on June 1, 1949. After graduating from Tennessee Tech, he was employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority in engineering design and construction from 1953 to 1956. While at TVA, he worked with TVA’s Hiwassee Area Projects in western North Carolina, which included construction of power generating units at Chatuge Dam and Nottely Dam and unit 2 at Hiwassee Dam, which was a pump turbine unit. In 1956, he was employed in the engineering department of the Clinchfield Railroad Company in Erwin, Tennessee, where he served as Assistant Engineer, Supervisor of Bridges and Buildings, and Engineer of Maintenance of Way and Structures until 1970. In 1970, he went into private engineering practice with clientele including J. P. Stevens Company, Tennessee Eastman, Nuclear Fuel Services, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, R.F.& P. Railroad, and Clinchfield Railroad. In 1975, he was hired by the Erwin Utilities Board to become general manager of Erwin Utilities following Henry Reeves who was retiring at the end of that year. Howard has served in that capacity from January 1, 1976, to September 30, 2006. As Manager of Erwin Utilities his main objective was to improve the utility facilities in order to provide better service to the customers.

He was a registered professional civil engineer in the states of Tennessee and Virginia and a registered land surveyor in Tennessee. He was a past member of the American Railway Engineering Association, American Railway Bridge & Building Association, American Concrete Institute, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association, Tennessee Association of Professional Surveyors, Construction Specification Institute, American Public Power Association, Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association, Appalachian District Power Distributors Association, Water Environment Federation and the Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association.

He was a Boy Scout, Scout Master, member of the Y’s Men Club, Certified Red Cross swimming, life saving and water safety instructor. He was a member, board member and past president of the Erwin Kiwanis Club. He was a board member of the Erwin-Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce and the Unicoi County Industrial Development Board.

He was a member, deacon and assistant Sunday School director of the First Baptist Church of Erwin for many years and a member of Calvary Baptist Church.

Some of the utility improvement projects he was involved in during his employment with Erwin Utilities include: Erwin Utilities’ heavy equipment garage building in 1982, Upgrade of the Erwin Wastewater Treatment in 1988, Purchase from TVA in 1993 of the 69,000 volt Erwin Substation and its upgrade to 161,000 volts in 2001, Rock Creek Booster Pumping Station, Water Booster Station near NN, Inc., New high-pressure zone for Tipton Street and vicinity to correct low water pressure problems on Tipton Street and provide water system capacity for future fire protection and development in the area above Tipton Street, Assumed responsibility for the Temple Hill Water Utility District in 1995, Construction of the Unicoi Substation in 1996, Elks Well and Elks Water Treatment Plant and Booster Station in 1996 and 1997, O’Brien Water Treatment Plant upgrade, Monroe Street sewer replacement, Sewer line extension in 1997 from the Town of Erwin to the Town of Unicoi to serve Specialty Tires and Unicoi Elementary School, Sewer line extension to serve the Morrill Motors plant at Shallow Ford in 1998, Evergreen community water pressure and sewer system improvements, New distribution mains for fire protection on Washington and Sycamore Streets, New centrifuge biosolids dewatering facility at the Erwin Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2004, Water system improvements in the Evergreen and Chestoa Pike community and new water storage tank, and a water transmission main from South Elm Tank to Second Street to provide more fire protection for the Riverview Industrial Park, prior to his retirement, he worked on a preliminary water system engineering design for the southern portion of Unicoi County beyond Exit 12 of I-26 at Temple Hill which came to fruition in 2018 with the extension of a water main to serve the Rocky Fork State Park.

The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to care givers Linda Jordan, Betty Moxley, Pat Staley, Debbie Whaley and the staff of The Center on Aging for their love and kindness.

The family will receive friends Sunday, August 18, 2019 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at Calvary Baptist Church. Pastor David Crutchfield will officiate at the 3:00 PM Celebration of Life Service. The family will attend a private graveside service at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family request memorials be made in memory of Howard Brown: to Calvary Baptist Church, 540 Adams Street, Erwin, TN 37650.

Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Brown family through our complimentary, interactive Book of Memories at

Robert Ledford Funeral Home, 720 Ohio Avenue, Erwin, is privileged to serve the Brown family. (423) 743-1380.