Edward William Brown (Bill) who died on October 26, 2012 at the age of 72, was born to Edward James and Katherine (Jane) Dougherty Brown in Portage, Wisconsin on September 21, 1940. He grew up in Pensacola, Florida; Eau Claire; and Wisconsin Dells. His happiest childhood memories were of his grandfather’s farm in Newport, Wisconsin. After graduating from Wisconsin Dells High School, he traveled to Washington D.C. seeking a job and worked for two years at the Anacosita branch of the D.C. Public Library and took classes at George Washington University. In 1960 he returned to Wisconsin to attend U.W. Madison where he graduated with honors in 1964. He then returned to Washington D.C. and worked at the Department of Agriculture as a budget analyst on domestic and foreign food assistance programs and the Commodity Credit Program. He was asked to join the Immediate Office of the Secretary to work on the Department of Defense’s Planning, Programming and Budgeting, which applied economics and systems analysis to the planning, budgeting, and programming decisions of the government. It was then that he spent time in the White House and worked with then special assistant to the president Pat Moynihan and George Schultz. It was also at this time that he met Susan Lee Nelson. In November of 1969 he married Susan at Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He finished a master’s degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School and studied there for a Ph.D. until another opportunity took them to Albany, New York in 1972. Health issues plagued Susan and shortly after, he and Susan decided that they wanted to move to rural Maine and lead a “simple life”. Meanwhile, they started the process to adopt and in 1975 adopted daughter Brigit Elizabeth Brown. In Maine he worked for the state legislature on a variety of programs, largely budgeting related. He rekindled his childhood interest in farming and working with the land to restore a pond, a wetland, and to create a small forest and several gardens. He founded the Kennebec Valley Precision Lawnmower Drill Team, inventing and setting the standard for subsequent organizations of this type. He and Susan remodeled an old farmhouse where they lived with Brigit until Susan’s death in 1982. In August, 1982, he moved with Brigit to Wisconsin Dells where he worked for several years for the boat companies, providing him the flexibility to be a single parent. In August of 1989 he began work at the University of Wisconsin-Extension where he was executive assistant to the dean, then budget director, and finally director of program support.
Bill was a Wisconsin Dells City Council alderman for 8 years, chair of the Business Improvement District committee for more than 10 years, and while on the Kilbourn Public Library played an important role in the Dells building, and expanding, a new public library. His priority was always to promote the Dells, especially its natural beauty and history. He tutored and helped foreign workers in the Dells. He was, until his death an avid reader of non-fiction, a knowledge-seeker, a compassionate and loyal friend and father, and a passionate believer in the equality of all mankind.
Bill is survived by his sisters: Susan (Russel) Kamphuis of Malone, Wisconsin; Mary (George) Slater of Milwaukee and Vero Beach, Florida, and Ann (Andrew) Munthe of Cotton, Minnesota; his brother, Timothy (Sophia) of Kabul, Afghanistan and Adana, Turkey; and his daughter, Brigit Brown of Madison.
A gathering will take place at the Picha Funeral Home (321 Washington Avenue) in Wisconsin Dells from 4:00-6:00 p.m. with a service at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, 2012. His body will be privately committed to the eternal cycle of life on Earth.