Buddy Brown, former Keys dive operator, dies at 65

Buddy Brown, who owned and operated Buddy’s Dive Shop in Islamorada in the 1980s, died March 31 at age 65.

A Conyers, Ga., resident, Mr. Brown maintained his long association to the Florida Keys through his Aquatic Sales company, a manufacturers’ representative that covers 13 states “from Delaware to Mississippi, down to the Florida Keys.”

He opened Buddy’s Dive Shop at Bud ‘n’ Mary’s Marina in 1979 and ran it with Cathy, his wife of 38 years, through 1989 when he moved to be closer to his parents.

“Almost nobody knew his real name: Newton. His sister gave him that name soon after he was born and it stuck,” said daughter Jennifer Miller, a St. Augustine resident and former Island Christian School student. “He was always Buddy.”

Mr. Brown’s sixth grandchild was born soon after his death and named in his honor as Buddy Morgan Brown. Mr. Brown also is survived by sons Matt and Joey.

In the Keys, Mr. Brown was renowned for finding and popularizing dives to the Cannabis Cruiser shipwreck, a cabin cruiser scuttled off the Keys reef while laden with bales of marijuana. He also became affiliated with several dive operations in Grand Cayman.

Mr. Brown was jogging near a family vacation home in Crystal River when he suffered a major heart attack. His firm (www.aquatic-sales.com) will continue under family management.

Services were held April 4 in Georgia. Memorial donations are suggested to his church, Heritage Hill Baptist Church (2987 Highway 212 SW, Conyers, GA 30094). Online condolences may be submitted at Scot Ward Funeral Services (www.scotward.com).

Scott N. Freeman

A celebration of life for Scott Neal Freeman will be held at 6 p.m. today at Allen-Beyer Funeral Home, 101640 Overseas Highway in Key Largo.

Mr. Freeman, 57, died March 28 after a long illness.

In the Florida Keys, Mr. Freeman joined the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in 1982 as a corrections deputy. He reached the rank of road-patrol sergeant before leaving the lawenforcement agency in 1992.

He worked for several years as a service writer at Wheaton’s Service Center in Key Largo and later worked in retail.

Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206