Mr. R. Wayne Browning, Sr. of Davis Wharf

May 27, 2020
Wayne Browning

R. Wayne Browning, Sr. died May 27, 2020 at his home in Davis Wharf, VA.  He was born September 13, 1931 in Plymouth, NC, a son of Merritt D. and Elizabeth S. Browning.  He is survived by his wife, Mary Will Copes Browning; their children, Mary Margaret Browning (John Haywood), Brook B. Sexauer, Wayne Browning, Jr., Elizabeth B. Teasley (Allen), Allison B. Little (Chip); their grandchildren, Will and Anna Sexauer, and Matthew and Joseph Teasley; a sister-in-law, Susan Copes Duer (Andy) and their children, Joe and Pete (Brook) and their family; four nieces, Beth B. Thompson (Ronnie) and their family, Becky B. Dymek (Stan), Joelle H. Dickey (Warren), Susan Lynn Browning; nephew, David Browning; and other extended family.  Other than his parents, he was predeceased by his two brothers, Merritt D. Browning (Sonya) and Douglas F. Browning (Dot); and son-in-law, Chris Sexauer.

Following graduation from Plymouth HS, he was a scholarship athlete at Chowan College where he played three sports and was inducted into the Chowan College Sports Hall of Fame in 1989. Following Chowan he was a scholarship football player at University of Richmond. Then on to a tour in the US Army, where he served as a highspeed radio operator and continued his football career with the European Command service league.

Back to civilian life, he began a management career with L&M Tobacco Co. in Richmond, reconnected with U of R friends, made many more friends, and met Mary Will.  They moved to the Eastern Shore in 1961 where he became an active leader in the community and enjoyed life with his family and many friends.

For many years he owned and operated Copes Ice and Coal Co. He was a member of Craddockville UMC where he served in many positions including Treasurer, Sunday School Superintendent, President of United Methodist Men, Lay Leader, and 2 terms as Chairman of the Administrative Board.  He also served several terms as an Eastern Shore District Delegate to the Virginia Annual Conference.  He has served as a director of ANEC since 1981.  He was a member and a past chairman of the Publications Committee for Rural Living Magazine, member and past chairman of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives, and served many years on the SunTrust Bank Board.

Broadwater Academy - It's Worth it!

Mr. Browning is a past president of Eastern Shore Vocational Center (now the ARC Eastern Shore), Shore Memorial Hospital (now Riverside SMH), Eastern Shore Jaycees, Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Shore Yacht & Country Club, and Virginia Ice Association.  He served on the Accomack County Draft Board, served eight years on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and four years on the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, one year of which he was Chairman.  In 1982 he was honored to be chosen as the Honorary Chairman of the Hospital Ball.  He was one of the original organizers of the Eastern Shore Seafood Festival in 1969 and remained actively involved for many years.

Wayne was a 50-year Mason.  He was raised at Ocean Lodge and was a member of Central Lodge #300 A.F. & A.M. at his death.  He was a member and past President of Eastern Shore Shrine Club of Norfolk Temple A.A.O.N.M.S., and a member and past director of Norfolk Court NO. 75 R.O.J.

He enjoyed a long, full life full of love, family, friends, and service to others. With all his many activities, his favorite and most important work was being Dad.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Chowan College Braves/Hawks Club, One University Place, Murfreesboro, NC 27855 or online at Scroll to charitable gifts and follow the prompts; University of Richmond Spider Club, 114 UR Drive, U of R, VA 23173 or online at  Drop down box to Spider Club.  He was always gratefully aware that they paid for his education.

The family appreciates prayers and kind thoughts from friends and relatives.  The service will be private.  Wayne’s burial plot is in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery on Liberty Street in Onancock, near the newly installed road.  He chose a plot by the side of the road so people could wave while riding by, so please do that.

Memory tributes may be shared with the family at

Arrangements by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.


Buchanan Subaru



Share this

Listen Live!


Local Weather

April 15, 2024, 3:47 pm
Clear sky
Clear sky
9 mph
Apparent: 77°F
Pressure: 1011 mb
Humidity: 48%
Winds: 9 mph SSW
Windgusts: 43 mph
UV-Index: 4.65
Sunrise: 6:26 am
Sunset: 7:38 pm

Visit our sponsors



Buchanan Subaru

Member of the

esva chamber