Brown Kinnard

Brown Kinnard

Brown was born June 13, 1933 near Franklin, Tennessee to Ida Beasley Kinnard and Brown C. Kinnard, Sr., both of families long established in the county. He had an older sister, Carolyn.

He died May 11, 2023 in Dexter Michigan at age 89 of prostate cancer. He grew up on a large, beautiful, four generation farm where his love of the outdoors was born. He grew up with great stability and the basics of belief in God, church, and right living.

In his early 20s he experienced the absolute reality of Jesus and the gift of unearned forgiveness and grew and deepened in Christian faith over his lifetime. The early social realities were the Great Depression, Bible Belt religion, racial segregation, WW II, and the Korean War.

After high school at Battle Ground Academy, he met Gisela Kelm at David Lipscomb College, a Church of Christ school in Nashville. She was a survivor of WW II from Frankfurt, Germany. Inspired by her faith, he changed from math to ministry, his true calling. They married in 1954 and had five beautiful children -Cynthia, Mike, Steve, Katrina, and Rebecca. After 24 years the marriage ended in divorce.

In 1980 he married Evelyn Dawes Thoma of Ann Arbor, Michigan originally from Anderson South Carolina, a church musician, and later social worker and Bible storyteller. Brown became stepfather to Fran, Lynn, and Hans. He and "Ev" became best friends sharing their southern roots and humor, Christian faith, church music, family times, and outdoor adventures. In 1988 they moved near Dexter on the Huron River.

Brown had three careers in ministry over 50 years including church minister; hospital chaplain/chaplain educator; and seminary teacher. He completed seminary, was certified as a chaplain and chaplain educator, changed denominations to the Disciples of Christ, and took doctoral courses in Biblical Studies at University of Michigan.

A job at U-M Hospitals brought him to Ann Arbor in 1975. His last job at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, 1990-2005, brought together his varied teaching gifts-directing the ministry practicum, and teaching pastoral care, New Testament, and biblical languages. 

Brown was active in and enriched by several area churches with different traditions such as social justice, evangelical, charismatic, and liturgical. He kept busy in retirement with family and friends, church volunteering, race dialogues, memoir writing, yard work, travel adventures, reading, and exercise.

Family was very dear. He loved keeping up with his 14 grandchildren: Doug Rinesmith; Brian Rumbaugh (Alissa Chartier); Eric Haengel (Dominique Homza); Kathryn Haengel-Grosso (Dominic Grosso); Marci Haengel (Tanner Davis); Amelia, Clayton, Vivian, Jillian, Spencer, and Muriel Kinnard; and Annamaria, Zsuzsa, and Maya Kinnard of Vienna, Austria, and one great grandson Fenris Haengel-Grosso.

Brown is survived by beloved wife Evelyn and his children, stepchildren, grandchildren, one great-grandson with a second great-grandson on the way. Beloved daughter Katrina died in 2000. His first wife Gisela died in 2002. He is also survived by one sister Carolyn Kinnard Ziffer of Gainesville, Florida; daughter-in-law Jodi Gaff Kinnard; stepson-in-law Rob Wakefield; former sons-in-law Gus Haengel, Jeff Rumbaugh, and John Flanagan; former brother-in-law Walter Ziffer (Gail Rosenthal), nieces and nephew, and many dear friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts to Arbor Hospice, Dexter United Methodist Church, Dexter Faith in Action or the Humane Society of Huron Valley. The family is extremely grateful for the help and support from Teresa Steklac, Arbor Hospice Nurse and Michigan Medicine Oncologist, Dr. Megan Caram.

A private graveside service for family was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Dexter. The memorial service will be at Dexter United Methodist Church on June 13 at 11 a.m., preceded by a visitation at 10 a.m., and a luncheon at noon. If planning to attend, please RSVP via .