Roderick Marvin Brown was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 17, 1942, the youngest of five children, to William Brown and Isabel Gordon. He attended Holy Angels Grammar School, Quigley Preparatory High School, and graduated from Corpus Christi High School in 1960.
Father Brown served in the U.S. Navy as a corpsman from 1960 to 1964. He graduated with a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Chicago State University in 1974. He entered the Dominican Novitiate in 1974 and made his first profession of vows on October 4, 1975 at St. Rose of Lima Priory in Dubuque, Iowa. He continued his studies for the priesthood at the Aquinas Institute of Theology and was ordained on August 8, 1979 in Dubuque, Iowa. Father Brown continued advanced studies at the doctorate level at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA in Theocentric Counseling.
In 1979, Father Brown was assigned to campus ministry at Texas Southern University (Houston, TX), where he served four years until becoming Vicar for Black Ministry in the Genesee Region of the Diocese of Lansing, MI and pastor for Christ the King Parish in Flint, MI.
Later he was part of the Team Ministry at Visitation Parish in Chicago. He was invited to Buffalo, New York, where he spent 14 years as vicar to the Central Buffalo Vicariate, serving St. Matthew and St. Bartholomew Parish as well as the founding pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish. There, he embraced the opportunity to serve a large population of African American Catholics struggling with poverty.
Though Fr. Brown came to consider Buffalo “home”, he returned to St. Pius V Priory in Chicago in 2002 on limited service due to his diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis.
In 2008, he moved to Resurrection Life Center in Chicago. He died on the morning of October 16, 2013 while recovering from surgery at Resurrection Hospital. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in River Forest, Illinois on Thursday, October 24. He will be buried at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois.