James R. Brown Jr., a retired attorney and a founder of the Oakenshawe community association, died Saturday of congestive heart failure at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 99 and had lived on Homewood Terrace.
Until his retirement in 1965, Mr. Brown represented the old Commercial Credit Co.'s collections department. He was also a founder of the Oakenshawe community group, an association of residents in a neighborhood at University Parkway and North Calvert Street. Mr. Brown moved there in 1933.
Born in Baltimore, he attended a public school at Guilford Avenue and Lanvale Street, where he was picked to participate in the locally famous human flag pageant of 1914. Thousands of children dressed in red, white or blue for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the British bombardment of Ft. McHenry and the writing of the "Star Spangled Banner".
"I can remember watching the Baltimore fire burn," Mr. Brown recalled about the fire that swept downtown Baltimore on Feb. 7, 1904. He also remembered a summer of 1912 childhood experience: "My father took me to the Fifth Regiment Armory for a session of the Democratic Convention where Woodrow Wilson was nominated."
When he completed his studies at Loyola High School, he became a clerk for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Law. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1928 and joined the legal department of the old Commercial Credit Co., where he became the Southern division claims manager.
He spent much of his retirement as a volunteer lawyer for the old North Baltimore Protective Improvement Association, a group of residents of the Oakenshawe community in North Baltimore. He held every elective office in the group, which changed it name to the Oakenshawe Association about 20 years ago. A tree was planted in his honor on Homewood Terrace.
As a young man, he was a member of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, where he was awarded three gold and one silver medals by the church for having served as an altar boy at 150 Masses. He was an usher at the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Assumption, where he seated people for the Sunday Latin Mass.
In 1932, he married Emily Marion Carscaden, a hospital volunteer, who died in 1998.
A mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Ignatius Church, 740 N. Calvert St.
He is survived by two sons, John Francis Brown of Cockeysville, and James Robert Brown III of Glen Arm; a sister, Catherine B. O'Tell of Towson, and four grandsons.