Obituary: Donald A. Brown, 1927-2018 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Donald A. Brown, 1927-2018

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Donald A. Brown
  • Donald A. Brown

South Burlington

Donald A. Brown, educator, fly fisherman, music lover, master furniture refinisher and raconteur, died at VNA Vermont Respite House on May 27, 2018. Don was born on October 26, 1927, at the Fanny Allen Hospital in Colchester to Isabelle Duprat Brown and Victor Pierre Brown during the Great Flood of 1927. When it was time to return home to Burlington after Don's birth, his mother had to cross the Winooski River by boat. He was the youngest of three siblings, Leola Hebert and Robert V. Brown, both of whom predeceased him.

Don was raised in the Old North End of Burlington, where he made many lifelong friends. He was a Boy Scout and learned many of his outdoor skills in the woods in Underhill. He was proud to have earned his Eagle Scout rank. He spent summers working as a lifeguard and winters playing in the snow. He attended the Nazareth School and graduated from Burlington High School, where he was selected as “Best Looking in the Class.”

After stints in both the Navy and the Army, Don attended the University of Vermont and started his teaching career in Shoreham. It was during that time that he met his future wife, Dorothy Seale, a nurse at the Mary Fletcher Hospital. After their marriage, he taught in Hinesburg and then went to graduate school at Syracuse University.

Don’s career path was focused on education. He was a well-loved and respected vice principal and principal in Winooski, Burlington and St. Albans. He was known for his ability to listen and was considerate of others’ opinions, even if they differed from his own. He brought a sense of fun and playfulness to his work life.

Don had a long-held love of the outdoors; he was an avid fisherman and occasional hunter. Through him, his family learned to love camping and hiking. A trip to Alaska was a big influence on his life. He had profound respect for the environment and loved all living things, especially the birds, chipmunks and squirrels he fed all year round.

Don also loved music and was a volunteer for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra for many summers. His family was amazed at the range of his musical appreciation, which ran from Supertramp to Rachmaninoff. Don also was a talented craftsman. As the owner with his son, Mark, of Things Unlimited for years, he had an eye for old furniture and the ability to repair and restore his finds. Notable was his talent in caning and rushing chairs — he won many first-prize awards for his work and now leaves a legacy of work for his family and friends.

Don was father to three children: Mark V. Brown (deceased), Faith Brown and Martha Brown, who — with their partners, Lynn Mansfield and Rob Donaldson — miss him terribly. Mark’s wife, Patricia Brown, and Mark’s children, Tabatha Soliz and Joseph Brown, survive Don. Don’s family gives special thanks to his best friend for 40 years, Renie Zaneloni, who was a critical support to him throughout his life but especially in his last years.

Don’s family also wishes to thank Dr. Jania Clough, Ally Parker, Tom Paquette, Sharon Keegan, the staff at Vermont Respite House and Dr. Mark Pitcher. A grateful mention goes to Susan Abel for her help with the writing of this obituary. A memorial service and interment is planned for October 27 at Mount Calvary Annex Cemetery in Burlington. Donations in Don’s name may be made to Franklin County Animal Rescue (franklincountyanimalrescue.org) or VNA Vermont Respite House (vnacares.org/hospice-care/mcclure-miller-vna-respite-house).

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