COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Former South Carolina State Representative and longtime Midlands school administrator Joe Ellis Brown passed away on Sunday.
The Anderson County native was a longtime resident of Richland County, serving as the representative for House District 73 until 2006.
The son of Prue Ellis and Elouise Grant-Brown, Brown attended Allen University in 1956 on a football scholarship before earning his master's in 1961 from South Carolina State University.
On March 11, 1956, Brown married his wife, Dorothy. Together, they had four children: Angela Gay, L'Tanya Gabriel, and the late Kathy Ann and Joe Ellis Brown, Jr.
A biography of Brown from the South Carolina African American History Calendar says he lost his father as an infant, and its that loss that fueled his desire to succeed in his later years.
In addition to being a state representative, Brown was also an educator. He was a principal at Hopkins High School in 1957 and years later, retired as the junior high school principal after 30 years in that role.
Following his retirement as an educator, he shifted into politics and run for the state House of Representatives in 1986. During his time at the State House, he served as chairman of the Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee and is a past chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.
Brown was honored with a house resolution in June 2006, thanking and congratulating him on more than 20 years of service as a representative. Brown was a deacon at St. John Baptist Church and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
He was 84 years old.
Many are taking to social media to share their condolences to Brown's family and to thank him for his work.