If two people were ever “made for each other,” it was Les and Helen Brown.
Both were born on the same day, December 31,1918. Years later, they met at Huntington Park High School, became sweethearts, and eloped on Sept. 19, 1937.
Their marriage was against their parents’ wishes. Helen was from a working-class family, while Les was from a more wealthy family. Both sides of their family thought the love would never last between them.
But they spent the rest of their married life proving them wrong.
The couple moved to Long Beach in 1963. Helen was a housewife who had a knack for buying and selling land properties. Les owned a photography studio and served as a photographer for the Navy.
They may have shared the same birthday but Les and Helen were two different people. According to their sons, their mom was very strict and their dad was more laidback.
They were deeply devoted Jehovah’s Witnesses which had influenced their marriage as they weather through tough times. They have always been forgiving of each other’s foibles and weaknesses. They always work to make each other happy. Everyday was a renewal of their love for one another.
The longtime Long Beach residents – who had seven grandchildren – were well-known for taking in-state road trips together. They were frequent shoppers at Ma N’ Pa Grocery, a corner store on Roycroft Avenue and Colorado Street. They were also close friends with many of their neighbours.
Les nor Helen wanted to live without each other, though both knew that the end might be imminent. Les had been sick with Parkinson’s disease, and Helen was battling stomach cancer.
While at the couple’s Long Beach home, Les slipped into a coma. Hospice workers said he might live for just a few more days. Helen was expected to survive for some months but became very weak and passed away on July 16. Les died the following day, never knowing about his wife’s death. They were 94.
Their son Daniel said that his parents’ marriage was a testament to the power of love. “It knows no barriers and seems to know no bounds.”
“It was a real love match,” said their oldest son Les, Jr. “They were together everyday for 75 years.”