William Lloyd Brown, founder and longtime owner of the Dry Fork Market and former Letcher County magistrate, died April 16 after a brief illness. He was 87.
He was born at Dry Fork in Letcher County on September 9, 1924 to William Henry and Florence Richmond Brown, the first of five children: Earl, Roy, Glenn, and Lillian. He married Grace Tyree, who survives him, on June 4, 1947. To this union four children were born, three of whom survive him: Elizabeth Ann, William Donald, and Nancy Ilene; Wade Anthony died in 1993.
Brown completed his freshman year at Whitesburg High School before enrolling at Pine Mountain Settlement School at Bled- soe in Harlan County. His parents believed strongly in educating their children, but the 10-mile daily roundtrip to Whitesburg from the family farm, almost always on foot, was a difficult one.
His parents enrolled him at Pine Mountain where he wasgraduated in 1942. It is at Pine Mountain where he met Grace, who would become the love of his life.
Following graduation, Lloyd entered the United States Navy and served in the South Pacific during World War II. Injuries received from the war forced him to spend several months in military hospitals across the country. For his service, he was awarded a Purple Heart.
He is perhaps best known for his Dry Fork Market, best remembered from a 1980s jingle as the “biggest little market in the mountains.” Of the many business ventures throughout his life, it was the one of which he was most proud.
A lifelong Republican, he entered county politics in the early 1980s, elected as Magistrate of the First District. He would go on to be reelected two times, choosing not to run for reelection in 1993. While in office, he subscribed to the notion that he was a servant of the people, an idea that has become a bit trite, but one that guided him and that he truly believed.
Brown retired from business in 1999, passing on the Market to his son. He spent his final years at home, gardening, traveling, and enjoying Grace and their eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.