Friends and family of the late Sherman Brown Jr. knew him as Superman, and on Tuesday, they got the opportunity to honor their local hero.
They donned T-shirts with a Superman logo and words that read “I Got Your Back,” alongside about 100 people during a ceremony that dedicated a section of Providence Road between Interstate 70 and Business Loop 70 as the Sherman Brown Jr. Memorial Highway.
Brown, who died Aug. 15, 2016, lived in Columbia for more than three decades and was a well-known member of the community.
His wife, Vicki Brown, spoke at the ceremony about her late husband and the impact he had on people.
“You were greeted with an infectious smile and a heavy humor, which he got from his father, Sherman Sr.,” Vicki Brown said.
Vicki Brown, holding back tears as she addressed the crowd, said that Sherman Brown Jr. would have been honored and overwhelmed with emotion by the dedication.
“Sherm is smiling down on all of us alongside his brother Danny,” she said, “telling everyone thank you.”
The section of road dedicated to Brown was important to him and his siblings because it was where they grew up. Sherman Brown’s brother, Danny, was a large influence in his life, and wanted to make sure he was honored. Danny Brown died earlier this year.
Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, sponsored the bill that designated the stretch of road.
“The most rewarding part for me in this whole process was getting the emails and the phone calls and the letters from people who knew Sherman and just the stories they would tell about how he touched their lives,” Kendrick said. “It moved me.”
Kendrick said Danny Brown was a big part of getting the bill passed this year, and that the two had several phone conversations during the process.
“I promised him that I would do everything I could to get it done this year,” Kendrick said.
Sherman Brown worked at Lindsey Rentals from 1968 until his death in August 2016. He took ownership of the business in 1980 after a chance encounter with former owner Bill Lindsey.
Brown was active in the Columbia community and well known for his smile and sense of humor. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2015.
He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Black Men Rock Awards in 2016, which honors black role models in the community.
“I want to make sure that people that are seeing me go through this know that there’s hope for everybody in whatever it be, whether it be sickness, whether it be work status, whether it be what they want to do with their life,” Brown said in a video address at the Black Men Rock Awards.
Bill Clark, a longtime friend of Brown’s, said that he always had a kind word and a helping hand for everyone and anyone in Columbia. “He changed lives by listening, by understanding and understanding many life problems and using his experience to help those who often sought direction in their own lives,” Clark said. “If anyone person in our community deserves to be honored for a lifetime contribution, it was Sherman Brown.”
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