Dr. John Olin Browder, 64, Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, at Virginia Tech died on Friday, Sept, 22, 2017.
John’s life was an adventure both in his quest for knowledge and travel. He began his studies in the vibrant town of Ann Arbor where his father was a law professor and the Michigan Bottle Pool Champion. He taught John to question everything and to enjoy life. And enjoy life, he did – starting as both a garage band musician and poet. John’s extensive travels included high school travels throughout Spain, and later trekking across Europe, Central and South America, not to mention, numerous research trips over thirty years to the Amazon in Brazil.
John held a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a graduate degree in government and administration from The American University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Wooster College, Ohio.
John worked for Senator John Glenn but quickly realized government and politics were not for him. He then went on to become a specialist in international development planning, creating the Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development at VT.
John was also recognized for his contributions to the Inter-American Foundation and the Institute of International Education but found his greatest passion to be in the classroom. Locally, John was instrumental in the development of Heritage Park. His only regret was being just months short of receiving the free parking pass for his thirty years of service at VT.
John is survived by his wife, Patricia Laurrell; daughter, Jayna M. Ratliff (TJ) of Radford, VA.; stepdaughter, Khara Coburn of Christiansburg, VA; stepson, Lloyd Coburn of Lynchburg, VA; sisters, Catherine B. Morris (Randall) of Kansas City, MO and Ann Browder of Kalamazoo, MI.
John will be lovingly remembered as a devoted husband, father, brother, friend, and teacher.
A memorial service will be held at Blacksburg Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 3pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Heritage Park in memory of John Browder or to a charity of your choice. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.