Don Brown was an outstanding citizen of Amsterdam. When you add up all of the important things he did during the 93 years he lived here, there is no more accurate way to describe him. Let me show you what I mean.
Don Brown was born here in the Rug City on July 17, 1921. He fought for his country in WWII, serving in the Pacific theater of the war with the US Army. When he returned home he became an active member of two of the most active Veterans’ organization’s in our community’s history, Wyszomirski Post 701 and Bergen Post 39, the latter of which he at one time served as Commander.
Don Brown was a hard-working entrepreneur who invested here in Amsterdam. He started out his career in retail as a salesman in the old Dangler Appliance Store. In the 1960’s he opened Brown’s Record Store at 14 East Main Street which later he expanded to also offer gift items. That business remained open in our City’s downtown for 20 years until Don retired. Don also owned and operated B&B Clean Up Company as a separate enterprise.
Don was active in his Church. He was a familiar face and pillar of my boyhood parish, St. Michael the Archangel on Grove Street. He served as an usher for many years and then Eucharistic Minister and altar server. He frequently administered communion to the sick and elderly in Amsterdam’s hospitals and homes for the elderly. When St. Michael’s closed Don continued in these important roles at Our Lady Of Mt Carmel.
Don Brown was a dependable community volunteer. I’ve been an active blood donor most of my adult life and during the last ten years, I’ve done most of my donor-ing at Amsterdam’s Masonic Temple. In fact the very last time I saw Don alive was in the Temple’s large basement hall where as a Red Cross Volunteer he was usually the guy in charge of managing the snacks and juice distribution. Don was also very active in our area’s Senior Citizen organizations, serving as Chaplain of both the Ft. Johnson and Iroquois chapters.
Above all, Don Brown was a wonderful and loving family man. He and his beloved wife Toni were married for 69 years. The two of them were devastated by the death of their son and only child Don L. Brown in 1986. They remained devoted to their six grandchildren for the rest of their lives. Toni’s death in 2012 was a terrible blow for Don.
Don Brown was one of those people that you saw everywhere; downtown in his well-run store, marching in a parade, visiting someone in the hospital, passing the basket at church, going to a grandchild’s concert in school, or handing you an apple juice and package of Lorna Doons at a blood drive. But whenever you did, he was usually doing something nice for somebody else. As I wrote up top, Don Brown was an outstanding citizen of Amsterdam.