Larry Parker Brown, 58, of Norman, died Friday, Aug. 28, at the VA Medical Center in Oklahoma City. He was born Larry Dale Cox on March 11, 1951, in Norman, to the late Dale Burke and Betty Bugher Cox, but later in life had his name legally changed to reflect the heritage of his great-great-grandparents, who had participated in the Oklahoma Land Run, becoming early settlers of the Noble-Lexington area.
Brown was a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, having served two tours of combat duty there, both as a Marine and as an Army soldier. He later worked in the U.S. Postal Service, but was medically retired as a result of a back injury and exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. He was a proud descendent of the Cherokee Nation.
Larry left high school at Norman to enlist in the Marine Corps, where he became a heavy-weight boxing champion before going into combat as a helicopter tail gunner. His list of medals includes the Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Army Commendation Medal. He refused the Silver Star when his commander would not award an identical medal posthumously to his fellow Marines who had died in the same battle. Larry later earned his GED diploma and went on to earn an Associate Degree.
Survivors include a daughter, Chrissie Kalia Brown, and his ex-wife and friend, Trisha Dudley, both of Norman; a step-daughter, Gina Skinner of Lindsay; a brother, Steven Ray Cox and wife Glenda; two sisters: Teri Haney and husband Buddy, and Glenda Carlson; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
A memorial service with military honors will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in The Chapel at OK Cremation & Mortuary Service, 2415 N. Walnut Ave., Oklahoma City. A private graveside service for burial of cremains will take place later.
Memorials may be made to the Cleveland County Veteran's Memorial in Reeves Park at Norman.