Everyone along the Gulf Coast experienced the horror of the 57th Dauphin Island Regatta through video, showing the huge storm that hit toward the end of last year’s race, but Jane Brown lived it, waiting for her husband to return to shore. He never would. J.C. Brown was on board a boat with his teenaged grandson Jacob, and three other sailors. Jane says, “In a matter of seconds, there was a water spout that flipped it up on its side.” Everyone on board was thrown into the water. Brown and another teen, Adam Clark of Mobile, drowned.
Jacob asked his grandfather (J.C.) to sail with him that day because he’d (Jacob) never been in a regatta. J.C was thrilled to be asked. The family shared with News 5, video of J.C.’s memorial service. Just a few days after the tragedy. Jacob had the strength to speak about this grandfather. “I was so excited to go with him Saturday. He(JC) kept saying, ‘When are we going? I am ready to go to that race’.”
The Brown family had to come to terms with the fact that Brown’s body would never be found. The Coast Guard called off the search for him, on Thursday after the race. Jane says, “Going to the funeral home, there is a closure for more families to as the burial takes place. That family is able to say, ‘They are in their resting place.’ For me, I didn’t have to have that as closure, but I knew where J.C. was. He was with the Lord.”
The last year has been more difficult than we can imagine, for J.C.’s family. His wife, Jane, is just thankful for the 14 years she had with him. “We felt like God had given us the gift we desired for a long long time.” J.C.’s family says there is no question about how he felt about them. His grandchildren were his world. Stepdaughter, Julie Northcutt, says, “He was at every ball game. He always made them (the grandchildren) feel like they were the special one.” Stepdaughter, Jennifer Hoffman, says, “He was such a generous man, You could go to him with everything. He was a special person.”
The family does not plan on attending this year’s regatta. They are trying just to get by the best they can. Jane says, “God has let me know I am going to see him again, and he left me here for a reason. It’s up to me to find out what that reason is.”
The Brown family would like to thank the entire community for the support and prayers they have received over the last year.