Long-time Ross Valley advocate and Supervisor Hal Brown passed away today at the age of 66, after battling cancer for the last 15-months, according to The Marin Independent Journal and confirmed this afternoon by county officials.
The former Supervisor, who served 29 years and seven terms, to focus on his health. . Reports were at that time that he was feeling tired from the cancer treatments.
The Sleepy Hollow resident had been a many decade supporter of the residents in his district. Upon his retirement, .
The most important thing he did in his time, he said then was "answer every single phone call and be real, real close to the people in my district."
Brown was known for advocating for the controversial Ross Valley flood fee, acquiring thousands of acres of open space, pioneering the Valentine's Ball, and advocating for public transit projects and services for women, children, and the elderly. He developed the first Safe Routes to School program and helped form the Marin County Child Care Commission.
He said, upon his retirement, the only issue he had hoped to still work on, besides implementation of the flood prevention projects, was addressing the growing pension problems at the county-level.
“Working with Hal taught me, taught all of us, as much about people and human nature, about loyalty and trust, as it did about government and politics,” said Rice in a statement released this afternoon. Rice was Brown’s aide for eight years and his recommended replacement. “He has been missed mightily, here at the Civic Center, and throughout the county by all who worked with him. He will be missed even more-so by his family and friends.”
“My father truly loved working for the people and County of Marin. He always said to us, ‘I’ve got the best job in the world.’ I know he loved it till the day he retired, and would have kept on working if he could have,” said Michael Brown, Hal's son.
At his retirement, a number of community members looked back on all Brown had done for the community. San Anselmo Council Member Tom McInerney wrote a , saying, "Hal also exhibited an understated form of leadership. He is not self-aggrandizing, and he was the rare politician who did not demand or expect fealty from those he served. You’d often find Hal sitting at his dining room table in sweats, with files strewn about, offering his guests a glass of white wine as he worked to build consensus and collaboration on matters of importance to his district."
And f about the large shoes that are being left to fill.
"Hal was the first one that you called and usually things moved forward with a speed not expected from government," he said.
Supervisor Brown is survived by his two sons, Michael and Chris Brown, and their wives, Julia Farren Coppersmith and Amy Breaux, grandchildren Ella and Abigail, his former wife Gloria Brown and beloved dog, Bo. He was preceded by his father, Justice Harold C. Brown of the California Appellate Court, mother Helen Louis Brown, and his sister Helen “weesie” Brown.
The Brown family will be holding a private service and has requested privacy during this time. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Marin Valentine’s Ball Foundation at P.O. Box 1612, San Anselmo, CA 94979.
A public ceremony to commemorate and honor is life and service to the County is being planned for late March at the Marin Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium. Check back for more information.
Share your condolences and rememberances in the comments below.