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Former Falls Church Resident Jewel Richard Browder Dies

Graveside services for Jewel Richard Browder, a resident of San Diego and Fullerton, California were held at Loma Vista memorial Park in Fullerton, California on July 19, 2006 with the Reverend Robert Bethancourt officiating. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.


J. Richard Browder was born in Stigler, Oklahoma April 28, 1917 to Jewel David and Dana Murphy Browder. He attended the University of Oklahoma majoring in Petroleum Engineering. Richard married Virginia Fahner Niblo of El Paso, Texas in 1942 and they have three daughters. During World War II, Richard served with the Sixth Army in the Pacific Theater, spending time in Australia, New Guinea, Morotai and Okinawa and participating in the Luzon Operation liberating the Phillippines. He was among the first American soldiers to arrive in Japan. Richard’s daughter Patti was born when he was in the Pacific and while the family was part of the American Occupation Forces in Japan, a second daughter, Dana, was born. Linda, their third daughter, was born after their return to the United States. The family moved to posts in Ohio, Nebraska and Falls Church, Virginia where Richard was posted to the Pentagon. He served in Korea and on his return was assigned commander of the Army Ordnance Plant in Burlington, Iowa and later was commander of Yuma Test Station in Arizona, where in 1961 he married Elfriede Eleonore Minnier of Munich, Germany. Returning in 1964 to Richard’s first post, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, he retired as Lt. Colonel after a twenty-five year career. He and Frieda moved to California where he began a second twenty-five year career in the aerospace industry working for Northrop, Litton, Hughes Helicopters, McDonnell Douglas and Boeing. After Frieda’s untimely death in 1980, Richard retired to their home in San Diego.

Richard had many life long scientific interests and was a member of the Optical Society of America, the American Helicopter Society and the National Geographic Society. Richard was also a strong supporter of youth development, especially through the Boy Scouts of America, serving as a local Council Director and as a Supervisor for Explorer Scouts. Based on scientific field research Richard conducted in New Guinea during WWII and his discovery of an unrecorded specimen of terrestrial snail subsequently named after him, Richard was invited to become a fellow of The Explorers Club, an organization promoting the scientific exploration of land, sea, air and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. The Club became an important focus in his life and he was one of the founding members of the San Diego Chapter. Although Richard maintained his home in San Diego, he spent most of the last few years with family in Fullerton where he died on July 16, 2006. Richard is survived by his daughters, Linda Keeney of Troy, Virginia; Dana and husband Roy Kerns of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Patricia and husband Barry Wrenn of Fullerton, California; his grandchildren Jennifer Wrenn of Washington, D.C., Geoffrey Wren of Fullerton, Shannon Kerns Notz and husband Harold of Tulsa, Sandra Kerns of Tulsa; his great-grandchildren Ashten and Mackenzie Notz of Tulsa. His brother James W. Browder and his father Jewel David Browder of San Diego and his mother Dana preceded him in death. Any remembrances may be sent in memory of Jewel Richard Browder to either:

The Legacy Endowment Fund of the Explorers Club dedicated to sponsoring exploration, youth exploration grants and the care and preservation of their Archives. Donations can be made in memory of Lt. Col. Jewel Richard Browder FN ’78, by check payable to: The Explorers Club Legacy Society, 46 East 70th Street, New York, New York 10021. Or:

The Little Lighthouse, a Christian School for handicapped children up to age twelve. Donations can be made in memory of J. Richard Browder payable to: The Little Lighthouse 5120 E. 35th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74135-5228.