Keith Vernon Brown was a man of his time when it was comparatively easy to switch careers, moving from poultry farmer to a butcher to a mechanic to a charity manager.
Keith Vernon Brown was a twin born at Henty on February 3, 1925, in a family of six children.
His family were wheat farmers, but when they bought a property of around 200 acres in Vineyard in 1941, they switched to poultry farming.
When the boys of the family were called up for the war, Keith stayed behind to work the poultry farm. Luckily his brothers both returned. While there he also played football for the Vineyard club.
He married Marie Mahony of Pitt Town in 1954 at St Matthew’s Catholic, after they met at dances at Pitt Town hall and the Blue Danube in Richmond. Marie was descended from convicts who came to Pitt Town in 1810.
Marie’s mother already knew him as he played drums with her on piano at farewells for soldiers going off to war. Marie and Keith had children Jill, Glen and Garry, and now have seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
When they were first married Keith and Marie bought an old Federation house at 52 Macquarie Street, Windsor which they restored. They were there for 18 years. The house was later pulled down to make way for the Coles carpark, now Target Country.
As well as poultry farming Keith worked as a mechanic at Richmond Motor Engineers in the old Black Horse Inn building. The business is still there in Bosworth Street.
After that he took up butchering for 10 years, owning shops at Castle Hill and George Street, Windsor.
After being a volunteer at St Vincent de Paul for seven years, they asked him to work for them in 1982 and open some new stores in the north west as the furthest out at that time was Seven Hills.
As part of this brief he bought a warehouse in Kingswood and decided to open a branch of St Vincent de Paul in Windsor. He bought the old shop which used to sell refreshments to the patrons at the adjoining picture theatre in George Street. Marie said it was called Maceys.
They demolished that and built the current St Vinnie’s building there which opened in 1986. He did a lot of work repairing items donated to the store and reselling them for a lot more than they would have fetched, which helped pay for the building.
Keith retired in 1990 at the age of 65 but was recognised for his St Vincent de Paul work in 2006 with an OAM.
He was always repairing things such as the 1927 motorcycle which his sons rode at his funeral. Healthwise he’d survived three bypasses, and had a pacemaker, but still enjoyed lawn bowls at Windsor Bowling Club.
Marie said they had a wonderful marriage, and travelled a lot with their caravan and also went to New Zealand and Europe.
Keith died on April 5. More than 200 attended his funeral on April 19 at St Matthew’s Catholic. He was buried at Castlebrook.