When Ron and Jane Brown got married in 1965, they always knew they wanted a house full of kids. They’ve spent the last 55 years filling their lives with their own four children (and now nine grandchildren), hosting 10 international students, foster-parenting over 100 newborns, and coaching and mentoring the Cathedral Hockey team. And that’s just the beginning. Their life together has been a life of service and generosity.
The beginning of lifelong support
When Ron and Jane’s oldest son Brian was entering high school in 1981, he wanted to be a part of Cathedral’s hockey program. Hockey was (and is) in the Brown family’s blood. Ron and Jane had heard great things about Cathedral’s academic, athletic, and faith programs, so they checked the school out for their son.
They couldn’t afford the tuition at Cathedral, but believed in the investment so much that Ron rejoined the military in order to pay for Brian to attend Cathedral. Soon after, Ron was also serving as Assistant Hockey Coach for the Crusaders.
What started as a decision primarily driven by hockey became a lifelong passion for the Cathedral mission, the students, and the Crusader community. Ron and Jane joked that their younger 3 kids, Rebecca, Christopher, and Emily, didn’t have a choice when it came time to start at Cathedral.
“It was the best investment we ever made for our kids,” Jane says about their time at Cathedral. “It didn’t just change our family; Cathedral became our family.”
A passion for serving others
Ron and Jane’s involvement at Cathedral didn’t end when their own kids had graduated from Cathedral. Ron continues to be an assistant hockey coach (since 1981). He has coached and mentored hundreds of young men and was named Section Assistant Coach of the Year four times. In 2014, Ron was chosen to be the State Class A Assistant Hockey Coach of the Year. Ron and Jane were also recognized for their outstanding service to Cathedral hockey when they received the Jim Michaud Award in 1997. Jane was one of the founding members of the Cathedral Parent Council, and together Ron and Jane coordinated the first all-night graduation party for Cathedral. In 1987, Ron and Jane were awarded the Golden Crusader Award for outstanding service to the school.
Ron also was a member of the Minnesota National Guard from 1962 to 1968 and the 210th EIS of the Minnesota Air Guard from 1981 to 2003. He was called to active duty shortly after 9/11/2001 until May 2003, serving in Qatar in the Middle East and at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina – at the age of 60. Ron retired as Senior Master Sergeant on May 8, 2003, serving our country 28 years.
Now, in his “retirement,” Ron works as a custodian at Cathedral and loves being part of the school community day-to-day. And Jane is still very involved in the school, serving in various volunteer roles.
The Browns have joyfully given their lives in service to God, family, community, and country.
Ron and Jane’s reason for giving
“Cathedral changed our lives,” Ron and Jane said.
In 2011, Ron and Jane’s children, friends, and fans joined together to establish the Ron and Jane Brown Scholarship Fund to help ease the financial impact for families who may need financial support.
“Our dream is that anybody who ever wanted to go here, could come here. If we can help one person come here that couldn’t have otherwise, it’s more than worth it. We continue to give back to this school because it’s family,” Jane said.
Ron added that they’ve seen the firsthand impact Cathedral has had on their own four kids and their ten International students over the years. “That’s why we believe in the mission. We’ve seen it firsthand,” he said.
Lives have been changed by Ron and Jane Brown, and thanks to their scholarship fund, lives will be changed for generations to come because of their generosity and selflessness.
The Cathedral Education Foundation exists to help Cathedral School fulfill their mission of providing a quality, Catholic education to all who desire it in the St. Cloud area. For more information on how you can make an impact like the Browns, contact Chris Schellinger, Director of Advancement, at 320.257.2139.