Oct. 4, 1941- Nov. 22, 2001
Daily Review, The (Hayward, CA) - Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Once you got to be friends with George Brown, you were friends for life, those who knew him say. Brown fought fires in Fremont for three decades before becoming president of the Alameda County Fair Association's board of directors. He forged many friendships over the years, friendships that ended only when Brown died on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 60.
Born in Oakland, Brown and his wife Nancy moved to Pleasanton seven years ago. He died there on Thursday, , after a long battle with cancer.
Fremont Fire Department Chief Daniel Lydon met Brown when the two were in the third grade. They went through Marine Corps boot camp together in 1962 and later both worked in the circulation department at the Oakland Tribune before becoming a firefighter.
At a fire, George was the kind of guy that could bring compassion and a smile at the same time, Lydon remembers. He could come back to the firehouse after it was all over and maybe stare out the window for a few minutes, and then get right back on track. That balance is essential for a job like that.
Their friendship didn't suffer when Lydon became the fire chief and Brown the president of the International Association of Firefighters Local No. 1689.
It worked out great, Lydon said. We didn't always agree, but it was always comforting to know the person on the other end of the phone, and that he was going to talk to you before that business was finished.
As a forward at Bishop O'Dowd High School, Jack Kavanagh played basketball against Brown.
He was a hell of a competitor, and a hell of a guy -- an Irishman to the core, Kavanagh said. If George was your friend, you had a friend forever.