Early County News

Emory Brownlee



Colonel (Retired) Emory William Brownlee, 89, of Cumming, Ga., unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord on February 27, 2022. Emory was born in 1932 to Idus and Merle Brownlee. He grew up on his family’s farm near Blakely, Ga. with his brother and three sisters until he left to attend college. After a year at Gordon Military College, Emory transferred to the University of Georgia. While at UGA, he married the love of his life, Bonnie Sue Pickron, and then earned a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture in 1953. Instead of returning to the family farm, he pursued a career as an Armor Officer in the U.S. Army and was commissioned in June of 1953.

While in the service, Emory served in many locations to include overseas assignments in Korea, German, and Vietnam. Emory, and his bride, served this country with distinction for 30 years before retiring in 1983. He was the recipient of twenty-one medals, including the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal. He was also awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and General Staff Identification Badge. Emory was an avid reader and a lifelong student. He pursued his education throughout his military career, earning two master’s Degrees – one from Clemson University and the other from the U.S. Army War College, and he completed his Doctorate course work at American University.

Upon his retirement from the Army, Emory worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company where he quickly distinguished himself, until he fully retired in 1993. Then, in his later years, Emory enjoyed spending time with his wife of 69 years, his three children and seven grandchildren, three great grandchildren and connecting with his lake home neighbors. When at home, he spent hours reading papers, periodicals, books, and his Bible. He would often be caught in contemplation as he was taking in the view of Lake Lanier from his porch. Emory was preceded in death by Idus and Merle Brownlee (parents), Vivian Bridges and Sonya Brown (sisters), and Lauren Thompson (granddaughter). He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Sue; his children; Angie Thompson (Dickie) from Raleigh, N.C., Marcia Cantor (Mike) from Athens, Ala., and Buddy Brownlee (Gay) from Marietta, Ga.; and his siblings Robert Brownlee and Ellen Glass from Blakely, Ga.

A memorial service, open to friends and family, was held at Ingram’s Funeral Home Chapel in Cumming, Ga. at 11 a.m., on Friday, March 4, 2022. Visitation preceded the service, at 9 a.m. Emory was interned, with full military honors, in the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Ga., at 2 p.m. The ceremony at Georgia National Cemetery was limited to family members.

Early County News

March 9, 2022

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