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Piqua, Ohio Remembers Local Businessman

James “Jim” W. Brown Jr., the owner as well as former CEO of Hartzell Propeller, recently passed away. Brown was a beloved part of the local aviation community, and a large group of Piqua community members and employees have fond memories of him.

Brown passed away at age 84 on Nov. 20. In addition to being a successful businessman; avid pilot; and carrier night-landing, all-weather-qualified fight pilot, he was a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Brown was born in New Jersey on Feb. 11, 1933. He attended Princeton University before transferring to and graduating from MIT. He made the transfer so he was able to marry Constance Wright. Constance, his high school sweetheart, was his wife for almost 65 years.

Leading the Business World

Brown bought Hartzell Propeller in 1987. A long-time Hartzell employee, Dean Ward, who is director of Product Support, said he feels that when Brown bought the company, that was salvation for Hartzell Propeller. This is because Brown helped the business through its struggles and made it a world-class company.

In 1999, Brown transferred his business to his sons, Jim and Joe, although he remained active until 2012. He also regularly attended Hartzell airshows recently. His son Jim Brown III is a vice president of Hartzell, as well as president of Hartzell’s parent company, Tailwind Technologies. His other son, Joe Brown, is the Hartzell president.

Loved by Employees and the Community

Everyone has nothing but fond memories of Jim Brown Jr. He was known for treating everyone equally and regularly talking to employees. Brown always made it clear that he truly cared about his employees. Brown was also known for having faith in his employees, who helped inspire him.

Brown wasn’t just involved in the local community via aviation, but also other types of community outreach. He regularly attended volleyball tournaments and Farm Day and was heavily involved with United Way, the Piqua Public Library, and Positively Promoting Piqua. Of course, he was also heavily involved in the aviation community, having served in the Navy and having a deep passion for pilots and flying. Without fail, everyone who participated in the Hartzell airshows would have positive messages for Brown and appreciated his ability to touch their lives.

Paying Our Respects

Jim Brown Jr.’s memorial service will be held Dec. 16 at the Huntington Valley Campus of University School at 4 p.m. The family asks for donations instead of flowers, to be sent to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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