“A lot of people in and around Atlanta are alive today thanks to the surgical skill of Dr. Howard Brown,” said a colleague, Dr. John Moore. “He was the answer to many of his patients’ prayers in their struggles with cancer.”
Both Moore and Brown were specialists for years in thoracic and esophageal surgery at several Atlanta hospitals.
One of Brown’s strengths, Moore said, was his constant pursuit of new and better methods of practicing medicine. Long after Brown retired, he continued to soak up information at conferences on such topics as new radiation therapies or advances in minimally invasive surgery, his colleague said.
After Brown retired, he continued to assist Moore in surgeries — “both in a hands-on way and as a wise adviser, someone I could bounce ideas off,” Moore said.
Dr. Howard Sidney Brown, 80, of Norcross died of heart failure July 27 at the Caring Hands personal care home in Lawrenceville. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Sept. 7 at H.M. Patterson & Son, Arlington Chapel, Sandy Springs.
In addition to keeping up with advances in medicine, Brown followed sports intensely, especially the Hoosier basketball squad at his alma mater, Indiana University, plus Atlanta’s Braves and Falcons. Moore said it was Brown’s custom whenever he entered the operating theater to call out to his colleagues, “Whaddaya say, sports fans?”
Dr. Rodrigo Cabezas of Cuidad Alajuela, Costa Rica, a former partner, said Brown was a dedicated surgeon who always put the care of his patients first, and they loved him for that.
He patented a device known as the Brown Empyema Tube, described by Cabezas as a device used to drain infections from the pleural cavity, the space between the membranes that surround the lungs.
Another former partner, Dr. Nestor Carbajal, now retired and living in Orem, Utah, said Brown was also a skillful diagnostician, able to spot hard-to-detect causes of illness that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Brown’s father, Dr. Clarence Brown, was a general practitioner in Rolling Prairie, Ind. The latter counted among his patients the notorious bank robber John Dillinger, whom he once treated — under duress — for a bullet wound.
Howard Brown cared as deeply for the arts as he did sports, regularly attending foreign films at the Woodruff Arts Center and performances of the Atlanta Ballet, the Atlanta Opera, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Alliance and Synchonicity theaters. He and his wife also were frequent patrons of the High Museum, Fernbank Museum, Zoo Atlanta and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
The two of them went on several High Museum-sponsored art tours of Boston and New York, but when it came to seeing Europe, he and his wife preferred to rent a car and leisurely explore Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece on their own.
In retirement, Brown took up a new sideline: railroad engineer. He donned an engineer’s cap and overalls and regularly operated the train that circles Zoo Atlanta.
His wife of 45 years, Jacqueline “Jackie” Brown, survives him, as do two sons, Lachlan Brown of Decatur and Brandon Brown of Norcross; a brother, Wally Brown of North Hutchinson Island, Fla.; and four grandchildren.