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Ralph Browne Jr., longtime community advocate, dies at 81

Posted by Patrick Rosso  September 4, 2012 05:46 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)


Ralph Browne Jr. during a May interview with Boston.com about being chief marshal of the Dorchester Day Parade.

Ralph Browne Jr., a man of the people, a supporter of veterans, and a long-time Uphams Corner resident, died Monday.

He was 81. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.

The Korean War veteran served as chief marshal of the Dorchester Day Parade and was a board member of the Dudley Square Main Streets, which announced his death. Friends said the community advocate will be remembered not only for his work to enliven his neighborhood but also for his can-do attitude and his energy.

“I’m just so shocked,” said Joyce Stanley, the executive director of the Dudley Square Main Streets and long-time friend of Browne’s.

“He was like the Energizer Bunny,” said Stanley. “He was with so many different organizations. He’s done so many things and was such a hard worker. He always had good advice; he was never there to hear himself talk.”

Mr. Browne served in 272nd Field Artillery Battalion of the Massachusetts National Guard, an all-African-American unit, during the Korean and continued to work as a civilian with the Air Force after his time in the National Guard.

A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Browne has had a hand in many of the doings of Dorchester as the president of the Dorchester Allied Neighborhood Association, the Meetinghouse Hill Civic Association, and formally the commander of Mattapan’s William E. Carter American Legion Post.

Mr. Browne is survived by his wife of 60 years, Wilma, and their seven children, 11 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Friday at the Twelfth Baptist Church, 160 Warren St., at 11 a.m.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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