On Tuesday, August 14th at 5:00 PM, Rev Robert C. Browne passed away at Covenant Clinic in Waterloo. Waterloo, IA is not where Bob’s journey started. It all began August 1st, 1942 in Binghamton, NY as the son of Clifford and Thelma (Fister) Browne, the older brother of Clifford “Skip” Browne.
Bob was a man who lived as many lifetimes as one could live in one life. He left no life experience unturned, trying everything he could from washing dishes in a kitchen, lounge singing, auto service underwriting, to driving the fast cars he once worked on. He made friendships along the way, always making memories and stories he held near and dear. Those stories became part of his ever-growing tales. Stories of being in the color guard with him mom and their horses, which led him to meet many silver-screen celebrities of the 50s. While still in what many would call his youth, he became an Army man, a proud stature he held his whole life. He met his first wife Jana and had 2 children, Robbie and Troy. They added more to his every growing tale, living in many unique places, slamming doors in Germany to remove a loose tooth, clam digging in Huntington Beach, CA to make the perfect clam chowder that may not have been an instant “kid favorite”.
Bob’s story did not end there; like everything else, he just kept going. On April Fool’s Day, 1971 two paths would meet. Margaret Leidig had no idea the life-moving moments she was in for when she said “Yes” to the proposal on the moving sidewalk in LAX. The coffee shop singer and the Carmel debutante set off on 46 years of adventures of their own. With their three children, Jennifer, Heather, and Michael, they became homeowners in states they never knew they wanted to call home. Bob changed from the man who could not get enough of working for A-1 Rentals to using every life experience he had ever had to spread God’s Word.
Bob completed Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque IA in 1991, realizing then what all these journeys had been for. More adventures were on the horizon, perhaps just not as many people. 857 friendly people, to be exact. Readlyn IA was where the “singing pastor” was known for sitting and sharing a tale or twelve with you. Zion Lutheran Church was where he could be found from 1991 to 2002 every day except Friday evenings in the Fall, as many Wapsie Valley football players and fans would know.
When it was time to move on from Zion, Bob took a job working at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Waterloo IA. He got to work with the audience that kept him on his “Monkey Bike” - the youth. It was a regular sight to see him riding around the Church and Fellowship Hall.
When it was finally time, long past due as it was, to hang up the robe and retire Bob looked back and realized all that he had. His heart was the fullest on the days when he touched the lives of those he had baptized, and then shared in their wedding or baptizing their children. Performing the weddings and baptisms of his own children and grandchildren were moments of joy no journey could have ever prepared him for.
Bob was a man most of all who loved. He loved his wife Margaret and all that she endured with him and because of him. He loved his family as he sat and watched them hustle all around him. Many days he was happy just to see them and always know they were there. He loved his friends to sit and share stories and have a good toast, maybe even sing with from time to time. He had joy. Joy in collecting Matchbox Cars for decades, building old model cars, giving gifts to his grandkids or his wife, bird watching, travelling with friends and family, fishing, golf, or a good football game.
Bob’s journey may have ended, but his story is not over. It just has a new messenger, or better said, lots of them. It’s all of us: Bob’s family and friends who celebrate him and all he loved and enjoyed who will continue his story for him. Forever.
Celebration of Life Services will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Waterloo with fellowship to follow. In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to the Wounded Warrior Project or to the church of your choice.
Kaiser-Corson Funeral Home in Waverly is in charge of arrangements. 319-352-1187