Dr. Brown passed away May 27, 2018
April 4, 1947 – May 27, 2018
Frederick B. Brown ’73-A died peacefully on May 27, 2018, after battling Lewy Body Dementia for several years. He was surrounded by his daughters, sister, and sister-in-law and will be remembered as a proud, loving, and devoted father and grandfather as well as a gifted surgeon whose contributions to the Lakeshore area extend well beyond the medical field. Dr. Brown was born on April 4, 1947, in St. Helena, California, to Frederick W. and Nita F. (Burwell) Brown. From his youngest childhood years, Fred’s only career interest was to become a doctor. His parents ultimately settled on the East Coast to raise their children, enrolling Fred in Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania where he graduated from high school. It was at Blue Mountain that he met his high school sweetheart, Carol Johnson Brown. After high school, he attended Andrews University and graduated pre-med with a double major in history and biology. Fred and Carol married just after graduation and immediately set out for medical school in California. While Carol worked as a nurse, Fred attended medical school at Loma Linda University, graduating in 1973. He was accepted into the general and thoracic surgery residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan, which he completed in 1978. Dr. Brown then selected Muskegon Surgical Associates as the perfect fit for both his young family and his beginning career in vascular surgery. Dr. Brown was the first and for many years, only, vascular surgeon in the Tri-Cities area. He served as president of the Muskegon County Medical Society from 1987-1988 and as chief of staff at Mercy Hospital from 1989-1991. During his development of the vascular lab at Mercy Hospital, Fred met his second wife Deborah Scharlow Brown. They married in 1994 and enjoyed a 23-year-long marriage and working partnership until her passing in November 2017.
Fred loved the West Michigan area and especially the shoreline which provided the means for him to instill his love of sailing in his girls. Many summers were spent sailing the Michigan coastline until the lure of more leisurely sailing in the Caribbean prevailed. Ultimately, the Caribbean was only the beginning. Fred and Deb enjoyed extensive travels together, often including their sisters, as they explored Africa and Thailand among other exotic destinations. Fred was a man with a myriad of interests. He was a voracious reader and tireless explorer. He was always engaged in athletics, including racquetball, tennis, many decades of competition at weekly basketball games, golfing, sailing, and hiking. As he approached retirement, when others would consider slowing down, Fred climbed to base camp at Everest and traveled to a remote area of the Pacific Ocean in order to scuba dive with great white sharks. He was a talented writer, dancer, gourmet cook, and, of course, gifted surgeon. His sense of humor was dry and always on point; his intellect was brilliant.
Lastly, Dr. Brown was a magnanimous supporter of many philanthropic endeavors. He was a generous contributor to Mercy Health in Muskegon, endorsing numerous hospital campaigns over the span of his 30-year practice. Fred and Deb received permanent recognition as members of the prestigious President’s Circle, recognizing their significant investments to ensure high quality health care is available locally for West Michigan families. In 2001, they co-founded the Benefit Ball, Mercy Health’s annual fundraising gala. Their commitment to that event remained steadfast until 2017. Dr. and Mrs. Brown became patrons of the Muskegon County Art Museum in 2007 when they first sponsored a table at the Anniversary Gala, an event they continued to generously support until 2016. In 2001, Fred made an even deeper commitment to the museum with the first six-figure gift received by the museum as part of the INSPIRE campaign. His contribution was designated as a matching gift which went on to inspire many others to donate in a similarly generous fashion. In 2012, Dr. Brown was named a trustee of the Muskegon Museum of Art Foundation, serving on that board until 2017. The Muskegon Museum of Art graciously recognized the contributions of Dr. and Mrs. Frederick Brown with the historic fountain at the front entrance of the museum in the Marble Hall named for them as tribute. Lastly, for decades, Dr. Brown has generously supported the West Shore Symphony and has remained a loyal benefactor to his Alma Mater, Andrews University.
Dr. Brown’s contributions to the advancement of vascular medicine, dedication to quality patient care, as well as to the training and recruitment of new physicians at Mercy Hospital has left an indelible footprint on the West Michigan community. His passing is a devastating loss not only in the lives of his daughters, extended family, and close friends but also for the Lakeshore community as a whole. Dr. Brown is survived by his daughters, Dr. Bonnie M. Brown (Tony Muraski) of Nunica and Stacy L. Gusky (Jonathan) of Berrien Springs; four grandchildren, Michael Gusky, Tristan Winkleman, Samuel Gusky, and Tessa Winkleman; sister, Nita L. Johnson (Gil) and niece, Dr. Karen Johnson; stepchildren, Mandy McCarl (Chris) and Nick Scharlow; and step-grandchildren, Alexa Wolffis and Owen Scharlow. Dr. Brown was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Deborah L. Brown. He will be deeply missed by his daughters and all who loved and knew him.
(Source: Muskegon Chronicle)