It wasn’t unusual late Thursday afternoon when Nettles Brown got a call from his wife, Glenelle, telling him he needed to run by the First United Methodist Church on Second Street for a brief 5:30 meeting before they went out to supper with friends.
It wasn’t unusual that Brown showed up 15 minutes early.
It wasn’t unusual to see a few of his fellow FUMC members walking in, as he stood outside chatting.
But when a couple of his colleagues from his New York Life office arrived, well before 5:30, that was a bit perplexing.
Then he walked inside the building, trailing them into a darkened Bostick Hall. He was stopped in his tracks as he finally realized this was no church business gathering. “Whoa, look at this!” he exclaimed, to the delight of dozens of admirers gathered to celebrate Brown’s 80th birthday.
Calling him a pillar of the community is understating it. For decades, he has served Natchitoches in a variety of roles, officially and otherwise. Notably, he has been a cornerstone member of the local Kiwanis Club whose leadership skills and passion carried him to a term in the prestigious position of International President of the organization.
A native of Coushatta and holder of bachelor’s (1963) and master’s (1970) degrees from Northwestern State, Brown settled in Natchitoches in 1967. Brown has been supportive of countless local causes, local schools and NSU Athletics and other university activities and programs.
His impact, not only through his service to the Kiwanis Club, extends well past Natchitoches Parish. That was indicated by the range of out-of-town visitors at the surprise party, including business leaders, friends and family from Shreveport, Alexandria and smaller communities, along with a judge from Alexandria and a Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Deputy, among others from all age groups and all walks of life.
It was 90 minutes of fellowship celebrating a landmark birthday for a gentleman who is deservedly beloved for a lifetime of friendship and service to all.