Hal Brown Dies from Cancer at 66

Long-time Supervisor passes away after stepping down from the Board.


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.

juanita March 02, 2012 at 09:38 PM
so sad. mr. brown worked so hard and did so much for this county/his district. condolences to his family.
Tom McInerney March 02, 2012 at 09:43 PM
This is very sad, although fortunately Hal no longer has to experience the pain of his illness. Hal was a friend to so many, and a leader for all of us, and he will never be replicated. He was an original! May the road rise to meet you, and may the wind be always at your back.
Paula Neese March 02, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Hal did so much for the Ross Valley, Marin County & more. I really enjoyed working with Hal on campaigns, fundraisers & causes. Hal really cared about the community. My thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time. RIP Hal.
Connie Rodgers, President/CEO March 02, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Hal was a community leader to be envied and a friend filled with passion. Those we love don't go away. They walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed and very dear. Connie Rodgers
Tom Boss March 02, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Very sad news. Hal was a great leader and an all around good guy. He strived to build consensus on challenging topics, but also knew when it was best to take a stand. Thank you Hal, for all that you've contributed to our community.
diane March 03, 2012 at 12:33 AM
So sorry to lose this wonderful supervisor, as good public officials are hard to come by. He cared about his district and always voted as his constituents would have wanted him to. A great loss.
Margo DeCook March 03, 2012 at 01:32 AM
RIP Hal and May God give comfort to your family and friends at this very sad and difficult time. I will always have fond memories of you from being on the Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors from my days of working for the GGBHTD. You were always an outstanding and superb leader, great role model to our community and just a heck of a nice guy with a great sense of humor. You always put a smile on my face every single time you walked in the front lobby at the Golden Gate Bridge Administration Building. What a loss to the GGB, Marin County and all who knew and loved you. Thanks for the memories - we shall all miss you Hal.
Kay Coleman March 03, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Hal was a great friend to all he served. He worked hard for all the important issues of Ross Valley and the rest of the county. It was the work he loved. There was very little "ego" involved and his constituents were his "people." We will all miss him but his work will continue. Kay Coleman
Tina Cheplick RN March 03, 2012 at 05:42 AM
I will miss Hal as a community leader, activist, neighbor, and friend. He gave his heart and soul to the community at large. I will always appreciate his support in addressing elder care. Tina Cheplick RN Care Solutions for Elders Care Solutions for Elders
Melissa Bradley March 03, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Hal was such a generous man and so kind to everyone. I met him for the first time about 25 years ago, while I was still in high school at Drake. He was so amazingly genuine and full of love for the people of this county and all that it has to offer. He did so much for all of us. He was one of a kind and he will be missed. God bless his family. Melissa Bradley Owner of Bradley Real Estate
Mary Tilbury March 03, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Hal always showed up at community events.He showed he cared about the people and his job all the time and in so many ways. I spent many hours a the ball park in San Anselmo where he paid for the score board. just one little thing of many things he did.
Danita Johnson March 05, 2012 at 04:11 AM
My condolences to Supervisor Brown's family and loved ones. May he rest in peace. Danita Williams-Johnson


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