Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sad news

Kevin Dowling just called with news that Russ Brown has died. Probably heart-related, but that isn't certain yet.

Russ was one of my favorite people, the best kind of political activist with plenty of energy and good will and a sense of humor. In recent years, our favorite event of the holiday season has been to go to his and Arlene's house on Christmas Eve for a seafood feast: oysters on the half shell, soup, dessert and whatever dish anyone cared to bring. We like to bring shrimp jambalaya. I'm not much of a party guy, but the food is always great, Russ was a first-rate host, and the crowd was so interesting that I always looked forward to it.

In fact, Russ left a long, rambling telephone message on our machine yesterday about this year's event. He said he was counting on us for the jambalaya. We were in full production at The Outpost yesterday, so I didn't hear the message until this afternoon. By that time, Russ was already dead, although I didn't know it at the time.

It's a sad day.

UPDATE: This from Ray Tracy, chairman of the Yellowstone County Democratic Central Committee:

It’s with a very heavy heart that I inform you that this morning Russ Brown passed away. Russ’ death was from natural causes but was also unexpected and tragic. If anybody knew Russ, they knew his life was all about Montana politics and helping out in any way he could. Russ was known for his spirited character, his capacity for vibrant debate, and volunteerism. His wisdom, experience, and cheerful presence will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

I will announce Russ’ memorial service as soon as it’s known.

In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and treasure every moment with each other.

UPDATE 2: Russ Brown’s memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, at the Elks Club. Donations may be made an environmental organization of your choice.


Anonymous said...

I always liked Russ too.

My sympathy goes out to Arlene and his family.

Tonya said...

Rest in Peace, Russ. Thank you for all you have done and for all that you have given.
I will forever miss your "neighborly" visits to Red Lodge.

Chris Kaiser said...

I knew Russ from playing softball on many of his teams over the years when he was involved. Russ and Arlene are two of the nicest, and most giving people I have ever met.

Anonymous said...

One of the most unique individuals I have met in my life. Unique in the best way possible.

He left an impact on everyone he met, or, stopped when they were walking by.

Todd said...

Sad, sad. A big loss for the community. I had just seen Russ on Wednesday night, and he was his usual upbeat self. Those whom the gods love grow young.

Nancy said...

I was very sad to see this news about Russ. We worked together in politics over 20 years ago. He was a bundle of energy. I hadn't seen him in a long time, but I'm happy to hear he was still upbeat to this day--not that I'd expect anything else.

My sympathy to Arlene and family.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear the sad news about Russ. He brought color and enthusiasm to all around him. I enjoyed wonderful days playing softball and then going out for a beverage and lots of politics. I haven't seen him in over a decade but he always left me smiling with those memories of good times. My sympathy to Arlene.

Laurie said...

Russ was a wonderful person and although I hadn't known him long, I will miss him immensely.

My sincerest condolences to his family.

Anonymous said...

Russ had a bout of heart failure a few years ago after a hip replacement...

Anonymous said...

Russ. A short name that encompasses so much--he was never a stranger in a crowd. Russ is synonymous with community--whether politics, softball, Northern Plains, housing, or human rights. I know right now he is jamming with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Thank you Russ and Arlene for your enthusiasm, sharing and caring.--Paula