Former Riverside resident Cedric Brown, a Marine Corporal who was awarded a Purple Heart in 2007 after he was injured by a roadside explosive in Iraq the previous year, died Tuesday in Georgia, where he’s lived for the past five years.
The cause of death was sudden and undetermined, his brother, Daniel Gilliam said Wednesday.
Corporal Brown was 31.
He leaves behind his wife, Jacinda, and his two children, Cedric Jr., who is 23 months old, and Vincent, who is 1, according to his stepmother, Jacqueline Brown. He also is survived by his father, Roger Brown of Riverside and his mother, Dawne Gilliam of Riverhead.
“He was very family oriented,” his brother said. “He was always everyone’s big brother and he definitely took pride in his family. His two boys were his pride and joy.”
Corporal Brown lived in Conyers, Ga. and previously lived in Riverside. He graduated from Riverhead High School in 2000.
He joined the Marines in November 2002, following his father, who also served as corporal in the Marines.
“He served his country, and he was a humble dude, always with a smile on his face, and he loved his family,” said Carl Brown, Corporal Brown’s first cousin.
Corporal Brown told The News-Review in a 2007 interview that he spent the first three years in Washington, D.C. as a guard working with the White House Communications Agency on presidential support and assisting with the security for government trips.
In 2006, he was on active duty in Iraq, where he was a dismount team leader and Mark 19 gunner in the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Division, Weapons Company, 81st Platoon.
He was injured by a roadside bomb while patrolling streets in a vehicle in Iraq, searching for hidden explosive devises and terrorists, when a roadside bomb blew up, giving him a concussion and a blowing out his ear drum.
In the 2007 interview, he said his hearing had mostly come back, and that he was thankful to still have all his limbs. He said he was back on duty after just one day in the hospital.
“If my peers are out there risking their lives and I’m able to do it too — I can still walk, I can still focus, and I can still do my job — it was right to go back out there, so I didn’t complain,” he said in the 2007 interview.
“He was definitely a tough guy,” Mr. Gilliam said Wednesday of his brother, who played football and ran track at Riverhead, where he also was a member of the German Honor Society.
His Purple Heart was presented to him at a Riverhead Town Board meeting in February 2007 by Rich Weeks, the New York State Commander of the Military Order of Purple Hearts. He was given proclamations by the Town Board, the Riverhead Board of Education and the Suffolk County Legislature at the time.
After four years in the Marines, he worked security for Riverhead High School and Peconic Bay Medical Center before moving to Georgia, where he worked security at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, according to Mr. Gilliam.
The family will have a small service in Georgia Saturday. A wake is expected to be held at the Reginald H. Tuthill Funeral Home in Riverhead. Arrangements were not yet set.