CDR Robert Edward Brown USN (Ret.), 65, died on November 27, 2009, at his home in Annandale, VA, finally succumbing to a courageous battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his wife of over 40 years, Sandra, their three children, Inger, Eric, and Adam, and his grandson Finn.

Born on December 13, 1943, in Brooklyn, NY, to Ralph and Claire Brown, Robert spent his early years in Brooklyn as well as Staten Island--with a stop in San Francisco while his father served in the Navy during World War II--before his family settled in Grand Island, NY, a suburb of Buffalo.

Following high school and a brief stint at the University of Minnesota, he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy and was graduated with the Class of 1968. He married Sandra Von Rembow on June 8, 1969, and they embarked on a long adventure together as a Navy family.

He began his naval career at flight school and shortly after transitioned to the surface warfare community. He served in USS Energy (MSO-436), USS Corry (DD-817), USS Manitowoc (LST-1180), USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3), and finished the sea-going portion of his career as Executive Officer of USS Forrest Sherman (DD-931).

He served in-country in the Republic of Vietnam as a senior advisor and commanding officer of River Assault Group 23 from January 1971 to January 1972, earning, among other awards, the Bronze Star with Combat ''V'', Air Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and Vietnam Service Medal w/ four campaign stars.

Robert and his family moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1982 where, following graduation from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, he served a two year tour at the Joint Chiefs of Staff National Military Command Center and then in various program offices at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). Following retirement from the Navy in October 1988, Robert began a distinguished civilian career supporting various program offices at NAVSEA working with a variety of ship classes, notably the AOE-1 and AOE-6 Fast Combat Supply Ships as well as LPD-4 and LSD-41/49 dock landing ships.

Living in the Washington suburbs brought Robert''s family closer to his in-laws, Fred and Ruth Von Rembow, and allowed for many special memories of Sunday dinners, birthdays, and holidays spent together. He treasured them as much they did him.

Robert was a voracious reader of history and had a near encyclopedic knowledge of the Civil War, gladly sharing that knowledge with friends and family while touring the area''s numerous battlefields. He especially enjoyed the Civil War club at Hope Lutheran Church.

An avid baseball fan, he was a devoted follower of the San Francisco Giants and watched them play almost every night during the summer. He coached both Little League baseball and church league softball.

Robert took up fishing as a way to spend time with his children as they grew older and enjoyed passing on that interest to his grandchildren, whom he adored.

His passion, however, was philatelics, a hobby he learned from and shared with his father. He collected stamps and covers and frequently displayed his collection at local stamp shows. A member of the Springfield Stamp Club, he enjoyed corresponding with other collectors from all over the world.

He loved all God''s creatures and faithfully fed the menagerie of birds native to this area. Frequently at his side were his beloved and loyal Scottish Terriers. Fleet Admiral MacDuff, Heather, Bonnie, Daisy, Megan, Molly, and Maggie all shared his home at various points in the last 40 years.

Robert loved his country and strongly believed in its inherent goodness. He deeply admired the Founding Fathers and often looked to their writings for guidance in reassuring his devotion to the country''s core values and principles. He held in the highest esteem the men and women who have defended this country in peace and war, in conflicts past and present, and was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Above all he was a devoted servant of God. A member of Hope Lutheran Church and later Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Robert trusted in God''s will and was reassured that He would provide eternal life.

Robert was a loving and devoted husband, a caring and vigilant father, a doting grandfather, a loyal friend, and a valued mentor to many.

He is survived by his wife Sandra, daughter Inger Maslin (James), sons Eric and Adam, grandchildren Finn and Astrid Maslin, sister-in-law Deborah Elmer (Richard), sisters Joyce Yensan (Gregg), Donna James (George), and Valerie Lundy (Henry), and numerous nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held Friday, December 4, 2009 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fairfax, VA.

Friends may also visit with the family at Bethlehem the next day, Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 10 a.m. prior to the funeral service at 11 a.m.

Burial with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery will be on February 4, 2010 at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations in Robert''s memory be sent to Fisher House Foundation, Inc., 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850-5168.

Published in The Washington Post on 12/2/2009