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Golf Writer, CGA Friend Roy Brown Dies

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (June 4, 2015) -- Roy Brown of Clinton, N.C. passed away Wednesday at the age of 72.
Roy Brown in 2011
Roy Brown was the working man's golf writer. He didn't miss a tournament while working for the News & Observer back in the late 1960s until 1979. You'd find him at The Masters and the Greater Greensboro Open and the old Kemper Open in Charlotte.
He went one-on-one with Nicklaus and Palmer and Fuzzy and Seve. He was just as comfortable watching Joanne Carner, Amy Alcott and Jan Stephenson compete in the American Defender Classic at North Ridge Country Club or watching the amateurs in the Men's North & South at Pinehurst No. 2. And just about any Carolinas PGA pro-am on a Monday afternoon would do ... or a golf benefit to help someone in need.
Roy Brown always loved writing about golfers and their games and their triumphs and their travails. He had a way. He had a writing way all his own. He wrote 'em straight, and could peck out the stories without error alongside statewide golfwriting gurus such as Ron Green, Howard Ward, Helen Ross, Richard Sink and the late Bill Hunter. He had a wry wit all his own, too. "Believe I'll have me a stogie," he'd say around golf day's end, "and a shot of Jack Daniels, or maybe a stinger or two."
A Smithfield native, Roy Brown left newspapers and co-founded the Carolinas Golf Reporter in 1979 with Richard Sink, a former sports reporter with The Charlotte Observer. With his good humor and better way, Brown made a lot of friends during his golf-writing career.
-- written by Bill Kirby, Jr. in 2011.
Below is an excerpt from a story written in The Pilot newspaper by Howard Ward about Roy "LeRoy" Brown in 2011.
If you've ever met Roy Brown, you've never forgotten him. LeRoy, as we like to call him, is one of those bigger than life characters who makes being around them a memorable experience. You might say LeRoy lives life large.
I met Roy in the very early 1970s when he was a sportswriter for the Raleigh News & Observer. He was the kind of guy that everyone enjoyed being with, and anytime he sat at table, it was crowded.
Like most of us in the profession those days, Roy covered all sports, particularly in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and was one of the best in the business. He could write, and even under the strict disciplines of his editors, managed to get enough personality into his articles to make them more entertaining than most.
Roy was a good athlete, too, excelling as a football player in high school and later becoming one of the better golfers among members of the Carolinas Golf Reporters Association. In fact, Roy was good enough to win the coveted Golf Writers Association of America Championship at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach one year.
But it wasn't the golf that you loved about Roy; it was the LeRoy that kept emerging.
When Roy and Charlotte Observer sportswriter Richard Sink resigned from their respective newspapers and gambled their careers to start The Carolinas Golf Reporter, we all marveled at their risk-taking.
But LeRoy was enthusiastic about the undertaking, and when I interviewed him and Richard about the move, he said, "Aw, it's gonna work out great. We're publishing maggots now."
Sink eventually gave up his role as publishing "maggot" and moved into a different field. But Roy stuck it out, and The Golf Reporter survived for several years before morphing into The Golf Record.
Roy and his wife, Pat, lived in Clinton for years until she died in 2007 after a long battle with leukemia. Roy's younger sister died suddenly the day after Christmas last year, and his 89-year-old mother recently broke her hip in a fall and is recovering from surgery.
But fate was not finished dumping double bogeys into LeRoy's life. In mid-March of this year, his house caught fire and was damaged so badly that it's currently uninhabitable.
To make it really bad, there were some ownership questions that hadn't been resolved following his wife's death, and the insurance on the house had lapsed. Roy is now living in a mobile home near Clinton that's owned by his son.
There's a lot of love for Roy in the Clinton community, and his friends intend to help him recover from the events that left him in debt and without a home. That's why a group, headed by Dickie Walters, the head professional at Coharie Country Club, [conducted] a benefit golf tournament.
And just to let you know a little more about LeRoy, picture this: He's playing golf with an old friend, Smoky Craver, and after a particularly bad shot throws his club, which lands in a tree.
He pulls another club and throws it to try to dislodge the first. It hangs up, too. He does this twice more and all the clubs stick in the tree. Finally, Craver says, "Roy, that isn't going to work. You're going to have all your clubs stuck in the tree."
And LeRoy says, "I don't give a ----. I'm getting them out of your bag."

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