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Frederick Brown, Jr., Former AFCO Steel President, Dies at 90
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 27, 2013 at 3:48 PM.

frederick-isaac-brown-jr.jpgFrederick Isaac Brown, Jr., former president of AFCO Steel (now W&W/AFCO Steel, an AISC/NSBA member and AISC certified fabricator), died peacefully at his home on February 9, surrounded by family and friends. He was 90 years old.


Fred I., as he was most often referred to by friends, attended the University of Arizona where he was an active member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and served as a cadet in one of the last ROTC cavalries before horses ceased to be a regular part of military equipment. He competed in the school’s award-winning rodeos and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1943.


After graduating from college, he served for three years in Midshipmen’s School. He was commissioned an Ensign USNR in January 1944 where he volunteered for duty with the U.S. Navy’s “Beach Jumpers” unit during World War II, commanded by Lieutenant Douglas Fairbanks. This unit operated under Top Secret orders to prepare for a diversionary landing on southwestern Kyushu Island, Japan. The dropping of the atom bomb changed the mission, and his unit was assigned to the 43rd Sunrise Army Division in Hiroshima.


After being discharged from the Navy as communication officer aboard the USS Alcyone, Brown worked as a stove tender in the Blast Furnace Division of Inland Steel in Indiana Harbor, Ind., then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy in 1949.


Following the death of his father in 1962, Brown became president and CEO of AFCO Steel in Little Rock, Ark. The company was recognized as a leading structural steel fabricator in the U.S. and was sold in 2002 to W&W Steel.


Brown was also appointed to the Little Rock Port Authority at its inception in 1960. He became Chairman in 1965, a position he held for more than 20 years, and oversaw the development of a 1,500-acre industrial park, a short-line railroad and an operating river port. In 1969, the towboat “Arkansas Traveler” chugged into the port with the first two barges loaded with steel. About 20 years later the Little Rock Board of Directors named the port’s slack water harbor the “Fred I. Brown, Jr. Industrial Harbor” in recognition of his dedication to the McClellan-Kerr Navigation Plan for the Arkansas River.


Brown is survived by his wife of 62 years, Patricia, five children and 10 grandchildren.

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