In Memory of

Leonard

Brown

Obituary for Leonard Brown

Leonard Brown
(June 14, 1928 – June 8, 2023)

Dr. Leonard Brown passed away Thursday, June 8, after a long illness, just a week shy of his 95th birthday. Len was known by his friends and family as an endlessly curious, smart, provocative, sometimes mischievous, and brutally honest individual who lived his life on his own terms.

The son of Jewish immigrants, Samuel and Beckie Brown, Len grew up in Philadelphia during the height of the Depression and in the shadow of World War II. The family, which also included older sisters Gertrude and Esther, lived upstairs from the family grocery store. Len attended Central High School, and after his mother died, attended the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a Public Health Service (PHS) grant to attend medical school at Hahnemann Medical College.

At age 24, he met and married Ann Levin, a brilliant young nursing student who remained his life partner for more than 60 years. They shared intellectual curiosity and the quest for fun and adventure. Upon completing medical school, Len embarked on a series of assignments for the Public Health Service. First, he and Ann were sent to a tiny medical facility on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, where Len served as a physician and Ann as a nurse. Next, they landed in Boston, where he worked as the physician on a Coast Guard vessel, followed by two years in Staten Island while Len completed his dermatology residency at Columbia University. Finally, Len’s PHS service took him to Atlanta, to work at the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In 1962 the family (now including four children) moved to Marietta, Georgia where Len established a private practice as the first dermatologist in Cobb County (Metro Atlanta). There he became a celebrity with the numerous patients he cared for.

Len developed a wide circle of friends – men and women who shared his love of tennis, music, culture, science, and discourse. He was particularly enamored of the study of philosophy, returning again and again to the insights of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle and the art of debate in his attempt to tease out the meaning of life. He was also passionate about the workings of the mind, and stayed abreast of the latest scientific discoveries, understandings, and interpretations in pursuit of deeper truths. Over the years, Len and Ann traveled the globe– experiencing new cultures, new foods, new sights, and new challenges. They also were quite active in the Jewish community and were founding members of Temple Sinai.

After five full decades in Atlanta, Len and Ann relocated in 2009 to a senior living facility in La Jolla, California, enjoying long walks on the beach and the nightlife of the region, attending classes through UCSD’s senior university program, organizing and participating in clubs pursuing learning on a wide range of topics, and building a new community of friends in the process. Even after Ann was no longer able to participate, eventually passing away in 2018, Len remained a vibrant member of the community. Undeterred when diagnosed with a progressive illness, and defying the odds, he harnessed his knowledge as a physician and indomitable will-power to stave off physical decline, maintaining his mental acuity, generosity, and good humor right up to the end. Len fully lived each day, finding the moments that made it all worthwhile. In his honor, let it be said that he did not go gently into that good night. He did make the world a better place.

Len is remembered by his four children and their spouses – Beth Ornstein (Peter), Linda Brown (David), Richard Brown (Ellen), Andy Brown, nine grandchildren and step-grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and Caroline Morse, his companion of the last several years. Anyone who would like to make a donation in Len’s memory is encouraged to donate to the cause that most inspires them.