This morning, Chester Brown, died at home in his sleep…as I know he would have wanted to go. Chester was once in the House of Representatives, before I took much interest in local politics, and was an active member of City Council. I met Chester when I was a 22 year old social worker at DSS and he was an attorney; one that scared the beejezus out of many folks. He had a large personality, and you always knew was in the room.
Chester was the Chair of our Board when I started with Safe Homes in 1988, and I have always felt he was someone I could turn to for help, advice, and a listening ear. He had a devilish sense of humor and was always cracking jokes and telling stories…sometimes on himself. He had a million of them and he seemed to know everyone in the community.
Chester was a gruff old bear…teddy bear, that is. He would harrumph and grumble, but he was always had your back. He was the one that led our Board into purchasing the shelter on South Church St. that the Haven now owns. We had way too little space in our 12 bed little shelter for the all the women and children in our community who needed it. He was committed to getting that shelter renovated and the loan paid off.
Chester stayed on our Advisory Board after he served two terms, and still came to board meetings occasionally. He always donated to our fundraisers. A few weeks ago, he dropped by the office to visit, leaning heavily on his cane, and brought me an antique bowl and pitcher set to sell at Auctions for a Cause. He was always interested in what was going on with the organization, and still full of bright ideas. Chester will be missed by many in this community, including me. I choose to remember him sitting at the table during our Annual Meeting, slapping his leg and roaring with laughter at some wild tail he had just spun. He was good man, and I am privileged to have been a part of his life.