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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Joe Brown creates a dynasty

Joe Brown creates a dynasty
Jenn McFadden
Joe Brown creates a dynasty

When the prideful students of Mississippi State University, The University of Southern Mississippi and The University of Mississippi walk into their local Campus Bookmart at the semester’s beginning, all they see is money wasted on a textbook that may not be cracked open for the next six months. 
These same people, unless they happen to be one of the lucky student employees, do not get the chance to see the heart of the few Campus Bookmart stores. They will never walk down the stairs and venture through the hidden door to Dr. Brown’s Starkville office. 
His large, mahogany desk is perfectly centered in the room. A similar book shelf, filled with books from his favorite authors and books of his own lining each row, is situated directly behind his desk. His diplomas are displayed on the wall, proving the hard work that was diligently put into earning all three of his degrees. However, all of these things do not accurately depict the best qualities of Dr. Brown. 
Perhaps if each student saw his joyous smile, one that told stories of 80 years past, or witnessed his passion for those exact books they dreaded buying, a passion that was nearly tangible, their narrow-minded thoughts would change. 
Despite original thoughts, if there is one thing all Starkville community members have in common, whether college students or long-term residents, it is the love for the success stories from a little Mississippi town they call home.
Although Joe Brown, 40-year Starkville resident and retired MSU engineering professor, might have slipped under the radar for current and incoming students, his work does not go unnoticed among others in the community.
Spending the last four decades in Starkville, Dr. Brown and his family made somewhat of a dynasty. His daughter Carolyn Abadie, owner of the family’s book store in downtown Starkville, and his son, owner of Shep’s cleaner on Highway 12, have made a lasting impact in the business community just as their father did. 
 
To most, four decades in a Mississippi college-town might sound like a lifetime, but at the wise age of 88, Dr. Brown had the opportunity to spend his first 40 years of life living, learning, researching and writing in other places. For him, success came early. 
Although his career began early, Dr. Brown’s daughter said he would never admit how successful he truly was. 
“He’s too humble,” Abadie said. “I bet he didn’t even tell you that he graduated from high school at 15 years old.”
Which was true. Dr. Brown was proud of his early accomplishments, but this didn’t stop him from continuing his education. 
After his high school graduation, Brown did not stray far from his small, farming community of Gatewood, West Virginia. Instead, he completed his first degree in-state: A bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of West Virginia. 
He continued his education and traveled to Lafayette, Indiana, where he completed both his Master’s degree and Ph.D in mechanical engineering, mechanics and mathematics at Purdue University. 
Upon the completion of his final degree, Dr. Brown relocated to California, where he spent the next 20 years.
His time in California, Dr. Brown said, was spent mostly working in the industry doing mechanical design of aircraft, missiles and spacecraft.  
During this time, although maintaining focus on his work, Dr. Brown found a new love for research and the theories of physics and mechanical engineering.  
“I just wanted to tell everyone, ‘Leave me alone and let me work on my theory,’” Dr. Brown said.
 The process was simple at first. 
“I sent off my first brochure and said ‘here are my ideas, I would like to work on them.’”
However, simplicity is not a match for the time and effort it actually takes. 
Dr. Brown and his wife, Jimmie Marie, moved to Starkville in 1970, but his first hard-back book was not published until 1991, over 20 years after the cross-country move.
Meanwhile, during the lapse of time from moving to Starkville and publishing his own book, Dr. Brown gained a considerable amount of knowledge in others’ published books. 
In 1972, he launched the very first Campus Bookmart, which then grew to retail locations in both Hattiesburg and Oxford. 
Now, nearly 40 years and 30 books later, the Purdue University graduate is still researching for his next book to be published, although his most recent was unveiled just two years ago.
In 2015, Dr. Brown published “The Mechanical Theory of Everything,” which is still his most successful book thus far. 
“Now, this may go way over your head, but the idea is that the universe is made up of particles that are even smaller than atoms,” Dr. Brown said proudly. 
Originally, he said, a reprint was considered due to the amount of copies printed being sold out. Then, with an aging smile lighting up his face, Dr. Brown said that a second edition was nearly ready. 
Getting up from his grand desk, Dr. Brown decided that a trip in his candy-apple red Corvette was needed. Visiting his district managers in Hattiesburg or Oxford might be the right fix, however, he has to make one stop before he can be on his way. 
As he gets out of his car, his wife is already waiting on the porch for him. She is wearing a bright smile on her face– a smile that has been lighting up Dr. Brown’s world since 1952.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Joe Brown creates a dynasty