PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Principal, coach, hero. These are just some of the ways to describe the late Frank Brown.

“They called him a mentor, a father figure,” Frank Brown’s son Brent Brown said.  Anything that he could do. He was always available and committed to everything to this community out here.”

Residents came together Friday to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the beach’s largest sports complex, named after the local hero.

“The folks that are going to be sharing their stories today, they’re going to bring my grandfather to life today,” Frank’s grandson Ethan Brown said. “And they’re going to be the ones to tell us who my grandfather was.”

Residents honored Frank’s legacy by recalling their memories of the man they loved and admired. 

Frank worked for bay district schools for 36 years;  first as a teacher then as a principal and coach. 

“He loved children,” Panama City Beach Councilman Paul Casto said. “And they just remember him interacting with the children and making sure that they were safe. I think in a safe environment  That was his top priority.” 

Brown passes away in July 1983 from a heart attack.

Panama City Beach council members decided right then to name the park after him. 

“Well you know Mr. Churchwell of Panama City Beach, basically told the City Commission, We’ve got to do this,” Ethan said.

40 years ago Frank Brown Park consisted of 2 baseball fields and a soccer field.

It has since grown to be one of the area’s biggest assets, hosting major events like Thunder Beach and Gulf Coast Jam.

“Next to the world’s most beautiful beaches, Frank Brown is what I believe draws the most people to the area,” Casto said. “And it’s a beautiful park that the residents get to use as well as the tourists.”

Though he’s no longer with us, frank brown’s memory lives on through Frank Brown Park.