By Ron Hayes
DELRAY BEACH — During his retirement years, Thomas Browne did not play golf or bridge, racquetball, shuffleboard or tennis.
Mr. Browne walked. And walked.
Every morning he rose at 5, had breakfast, left his home in southern Delray Beach, turned north on South Ocean Boulevard and walked the eight miles to George Bush Boulevard and back.
Walking was his passion, his pastime and his exercise, and it was good exercise. He lived to be 91, and died peacefully on April 8, Easter Sunday.
“He always wore a pith helmet, and everybody knew him because he would say hello to everybody,” recalls his widow, Claire. “Some people called him the mayor of A1A. Everywhere he went, he’d want to walk.”
After his daily walk, he’d go for a swim, then indulge his second passion, reading The New York Times in depth.
“He’d been reading the Times since he was 15, and he’d take the rest of the morning to read it, every day, faithfully.”
Thomas F. Browne was born on Aug. 5, 1920, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Third Army 10th Infantry Regiment, participating in the Battle of the Bulge, during which he was wounded on Christmas Day, 1944.
“He served from 1942 to 1945, but he always said his career in the Army was very short, because he was only involved in combat on the day he was shot,” his wife said. “He spent three months recuperating in England.”
Mr. Browne was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service, then went on to earn a degree in business from Fordham University.
A resident of Upper Saddle River, N.J., he served as general manager of Institutional Commodity Services for 37 years and retired in 1987.
Mr. and Mrs. Browne, who were married 55 years, moved to Delray Beach in 1990.
In addition to his widow, Mr. Browne is survived by four children and their spouses: Anthony and Margaret Browne of Ridgewood, N.J.; Bradley and Susan Browne of Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.; Barbara and Kenneth Wineland of Medford, N.J.; and Kilby and Marizete Browne of Union City, N.J.; a brother, James, of Normandy Beach, N.J.; and seven grandchildren.
The family asks that donations in Mr. Browne’s name be made to Autism New Jersey at www.autismnj.com.