PASS­ING OF AN ICONIC MAN: WIL­LIAMS PATRICK BROWN

The Star (St. Lucia) - - OBITUARY - By Mary Bruce and Wendy Brown

Wil­liams Patrick Brown, af­fec­tion­ately known as Pat Brown, passed away on Monday this week at 12.15 p.m. af­ter a brief ill­ness. He was 94 years old. His name was, for most of his pro­fes­sional life in Saint Lu­cia, syn­ony­mous with the sci­ence of en­gi­neer­ing, a fact in which he took much pride.

Pat was born in La­borie on 7th June, 1923. His mother passed away when he was only nine months old so he did not have the op­por­tu­nity to bond with her. Of course in those days there was no pho­tog­ra­phy so we have no idea what grandma looked like. Pat was raised in La­borie by his aunts and un­cle on his fa­ther’s side: Ada, Rose and Lan. His fa­ther, Mr. Daniel Ma­son, mar­ried and that union pro­duced eleven chil­dren: five boys and six girls. Pat was proud to re­fer to the whole brood as his broth­ers and sis­ters. Pat proudly, if sadly, played his role when­ever a fam­ily mem­ber passed. They in­cluded sis­ter, aunts and un­cle, his grand­son Sawandi God­dard, his son Win­ston Brown, and his cousin Hi­ram Ma­son.

He was suc­cess­ful at the Com­mon En­trance Ex­am­i­na­tions which en­ti­tled him to en­roll­ment at St. Mary’s Col­lege but he was un­able to at­tend. How­ever, be­fore start­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion, he home schooled him­self. He worked with his dad who was fore­man at the Cas­tries City Coun­cil, then mi­grated first to Cu­ra­cao and then to Eng­land.

In 1951 he worked as an ar­chi­tec­tural and en­gi­neer­ing draughts­man at the Pub­lic Works Depart­ment in Saint Lu­cia. Over the years he un­der­took sim­i­lar as­sign­ments in St. Vin­cent, Gre­nada and the Gre­nadines. In 1959 he re­turned to Eng­land to un­der­take for­mal train­ing in en­gi­neer­ing, ac­cu­mu­lat­ing sev­eral awards and a fel­low­ship. He would later un­der­take suc­cess­ful en­gi­neer­ing as­sign­ments at home as well as in Bar­ba­dos and Gre­nada.

Pat was the en­gi­neer in the con­struc­tion of the Den­nery, Mi­coud, Vieux Fort (Cam­pus A and B) sec­ondary schools. Mean­while he was also work­ing on the con­struc­tion of still another sec­ondary school in Montser­rat. In 1989 he con­structed the road to Jalousie Hil­ton, and at some point also un­der­took some con­struc­tion work at the Anse Chas­tanet Ho­tel. Every time we vis­ited the Au­berge Seraphine he re­minded me, with pride, that he built the ho­tel. He also con­trib­uted to build­ing at Point Seraphine.

Pat Brown’s name will also for­ever be linked with the con­struc­tion of this is­land’s first over­head pedes­trian bridges in 2006. He also com­pleted projects in Bos­ton and New York, U.S.A. but it is in con­nec­tion with the bridge on Ma­noel Street, Cas­tries that his name is most men­tioned lo­cally. Painted in blue and white it has stood the test of time and hur­ri­canes that seemed to flat­ten ev­ery­thing else.

In 1972 Pat con­structed his own mag­nif­i­cent man­sion in Bon Air, Marisule. The ar­chi­tec­ture was ahead of its time. I have never seen another house like it. It looks quite sim­ple viewed from the out­side but it was an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent mat­ter when the viewer stepped inside. No won­der vis­i­tors to the home that Pat built looked for­ward with ex­cite­ment to the ex­pe­ri­ence: an ar­chi­tec­tural marvel. Lo­cal banks booked it months ahead of time for their staff par­ties. Then there was the Oc­tagon club at Vigie Cove, re­mem­bered with fond­ness by folks of a cer­tain age. To say the least, the club was very well pa­tron­ized.

Ob­vi­ously Pat Brown loved to build things. He had this grand idea of con­struct­ing a re­sort named Vigie Point Ho­tel. The con­cept was that per­sons who would like to overnight (par­tic­u­larly busi­ness per­sons) would drift to the ho­tel from Vigie Air­port, overnight and also work from the ho­tel. The ho­tel would fea­ture a rooftop res­tau­rant, and, alas, an un­com­pleted con­ven­tion cen­tre.

Pat also loved his chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and great­grand­chil­dren. He was very gen­er­ous and en­cour­aged all of us to get a pro­fes­sion. He was al­ways ea­ger to spon­sor us in any field of en­deav­our we wished to pur­sue, in Saint Lu­cia and over­seas. Some­times he even chose the pro­fes­sion. But the young nearly al­ways end up do­ing their own thing. Pat was not very happy when our brother Wayne de­cided to be a pi­lot. Of­ten he would say, “I do not feel com­fort­able when Wayne is in the air.” But Wayne pur­sued his ca­reer any­way and suc­cess­fully worked with LIAT and another com­pany in the USA where he was pro­moted from of­fi­cer to cap­tain. Oh, Pat was ec­static about Wayne’s suc­cesses and es­pe­cially en­joyed the perks that went with be­ing the fa­ther of the pi­lot. To­day Wayne flies South­west Air­lines, based in Hous­ton, Texas.

Carol, Pat’s first child and ma­tri­arch of the fam­ily, is a prop­er­ties man­ager also en­gaged in sales and mar­ket­ing. She re­sides with her hus­band, Dr. Michael Mon­rose in Tor­tola. Herma is a qual­i­fied lin­guist. She trains BWIA staff in Eng­land.

I, Mary, chose the sec­re­tar­ial pro­fes­sion even though I pre­ferred to be a teacher. I re­mem­ber Pat say­ing to me: “What? Teacher? There is no money in teach­ing. You’d do bet­ter as a sec­re­tary; you’ll make much more.” So he spon­sored my sec­re­tar­ial train­ing both in Saint Lu­cia and over­seas. Cur­rently I work as a free­lance lec­turer in of­fice ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Sharon is in real es­tate, is a sys­tems an­a­lyst, and is also in­volved in events plan­ning. She brought to Saint Lu­cia such mu­sic icons as Buju Ban­ton, Steele Pulse, Ju­nior Reid, Wayne Won­der, and Pa­tra, seem­ingly all on her own, but Pat was al­ways there in the back­ground if she needed a shoul­der. Sharon re­sides in New York.

Wendy is a Span­ish lec­turer/trans­la­tor with a mi­nor in jour­nal­ism.

Win­ston’s (Pat chose his pro­fes­sion as an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer) life was cut short when he was mur­dered in his home in Rod­ney Bay in 2013.

Sean is a free­lance per­son, work­ing with var­i­ous com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als.

Court­ney at­tends the St. Joseph Con­vent. Hope­fully she will learn much about her fa­ther from th­ese rec­ol­lec­tions.

Pat Brown is sur­vived by his wife, Curtree.

Pat served his coun­try well. In recog­ni­tion of his out­stand­ing works he was awarded the MBE from the Queen of Eng­land in 2004 for his achieve­ments in en­gi­neer­ing. In 2014 he gained a Life­time Achieve­ment Award in en­gi­neer­ing from the St. Lu­cia En­gi­neer­ing As­so­ci­a­tion.

As Rick Wayne gen­er­ally re­called on his TALK show on Thurs­day evening this week, Pat was a pro­lific, of­ten con­tro­ver­sial news­pa­per colum­nist who con­trib­uted scores of ar­ti­cles to the STAR as well as other lo­cal pa­pers. He wrote on a range of sub­jects: pol­i­tics, so­cial is­sues, eco­nomic mat­ters and, of course, sub­jects re­lat­ing to civil en­gi­neer­ing.

We are happy to re­port our fa­ther wrote his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, which has been edited and is ready for the print­ers. Among his clos­est friends: Mr. Neville Skeete whom he vis­ited every Sun­day; the for­mer gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Cal­ixte George; Dr. Richard­son St. Rose. They all met at Mr. Skeete’s to dis­cuss mat­ters, both cur­rent and long past. Oh, how fa­ther looked for­ward to those Sun­day get-to­geth­ers! He never per­mit­ted ill health to stop him from do­ing the things he loved which in­cluded walk­ing, pay­ing his util­ity bills and at­tend­ing court ses­sions. The day be­fore he took his fi­nal breath he was at his com­puter writ­ing about a par­tic­u­lar case. Yes, his brain func­tioned nor­mally even at age 94.

Although we will all miss him dearly, we thank God for spar­ing him a pro­longed ill­ness. Pat Brown lived a good, full life. He will now rest in peace in a place where there is no night, no fear and no pain. Pat’s burial date will be an­nounced shortly. Rest in peace Dad. Thanks for all you did for your fam­ily and oth­ers un­re­lated. We will for­ever be proud to call you fa­ther.

Pat Brown and his daugh­ter Wendy.

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