Finlay Brown, 94, Monroe policeman

Finlay Brown
Finlay Brown
Posted: June 09, 2014

Finlay Brown, 94, of Williamstown, who retired in 1979 after 26 years as a police officer for Monroe Township, died Saturday, May 31, at home.

Mr. Brown was a patrol sergeant from 1969 to 1979.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Mr. Brown was a staff member of the Bell-Hennessy Funeral Home in Williamstown.

Working as a greeter there "was one way that he could always give back to the community," funeral home manager Robert Hennessy said in a phone interview.

"That's what stood out about Finlay," Hennessy said. "He always gave back, even though he was retired."

Mr. Brown's daughter, Faye Dean, said that Mr. Brown had told her that, growing up, "one of the things that he wanted to be was an undertaker."

But he had to drop out of Glassboro High School, in the depths of the Depression in the 1930s, to help support his family.

His autobiographical notes state that he was a boring-lathe operator for Camden Forge Co. from 1940 to 1942, before serving as an Army artillery mechanic from August 1943 to January 1946, in actions from Normandy to central Europe.

Mr. Brown was a deliveryman for a local fuel oil firm from 1946 to 1948 and a worker at the DuPont plant in Gibbsboro until he joined the police force in 1953.

He became a police officer "because he was very service-oriented," his daughter said.

"He loved being a policeman," she said, even though in his early years on the force there were few officers and getting to an incident could be "a long hike."

Mr. Brown was a sergeant in the patrol division from 1955 to 1959 and a detective sergeant from 1959 to 1969.

Beginning when he was 21, Mr. Brown also was a member of the Williamstown Fire Co., which he served for more than seven decades.

A Mason, he was a member of the Kiwanis Club and of the Four 6666 Hunt Club in Mays Landing.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Brown is survived by three grandchildren. His wife, Verna, died in 1998.

A viewing was set from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, June 8, and from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, June 9, both at the Bell-Hennessy Funeral Home, 420 S. Main St., Williamstown, before an 11 a.m. funeral there, with interment in St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Williamstown.

Donations may be sent to FOP Lodge 125, 125 Virginia Ave., Williamstown, N.J. 08094.

Condolences may be offered to the family at

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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