August 20, 1945 - October 14, 2016 OKLAHOMA CITY Stephen Baxter Browne passed away peacefully Friday, October 14, 2016. Stephen was born in Wichita, Kansas on August 20, 1945, the son of Eula Lee & Virgil Browne, Jr. and grandson of Maimee Lee & Virgil Browne, Sr. of Oklahoma City and Ella Lee & John Burch of Hereford, Texas. He attended public school in Wichita through the 8th grade, at which point he was accepted into the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, NJ, where he proudly graduated in 1964. His years spent at Lawrenceville were some of the best in his life, with friendships formed like brotherhood and lessons learned that would help to shape his future. Following his boarding school years, Stephen attended the University of Oklahoma, where he graduated with a BS in English in 1968. He was a proud member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, where he served as Rush Chairman & Vice President. After graduation, Stephen served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve from 1968 to 1973.Shortly after U.S. Army Basic Training, Stephen became the General Sales Manager for Miami Coca-Cola Bottling Company, at the time serving as the youngest General Manager of a large bottling operation in the United States. No surprise to his family and colleagues at the time, as Stephen had grown up working in his family's Coca-Cola plants in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Nebraska. The syrup was in his blood, if you will. In 1974, Stephen purchased Fine Candy Company. He successfully grew and ran the multi-state company until it was sold in 1988. During this time, he was also President of Alva Coca-Cola Bottling, Woodward Coca-Cola Bottling, and Salida Coca-Cola Bottling. In 1987, Stephen acquired All-American Bottling Corporation. During his near 20 years as Chairman and CEO, All-American Bottling grew to become the 8th largest bottling company in the United States, with production in 17 states as well as the District of Columbia. Stephen was honored to be a member of the YPO, joining the organization in 1974 at the age of 28. He also served as President of RC Bottlers Association, President of 7-Up Bottlers Association, a Director at Union Bank in Oklahoma City, a member of The Committee of 100, Director of Shadyside Plantation and Co-Manager of Glencoe-Vacherie Plantation, both in Franklin, Louisiana. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Cheryl Swope Browne; his son, Stephen Browne, of Oklahoma City, his wife, Natalie, and their children, Hillman and Crawford; daughter, Liza Cryder, of Oklahoma City, her husband, Sterling, and their children, Ella Lee and Spencer; his sister, Debbie Snell, of Dallas, Texas, her husband, Don, and their children, Caroline and Stephanie; as well as numerous beloved cousins, grand-nieces and nephews.The family requests donations be made to: The Lawrenceville School, P.O. Box 6125, Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648 or to the charity of your choosing.Memorial Services will be 1:00 p.m. Thursday, October 20th, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City.
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