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LifeTime Teacher Bill Brown ’34 Passes Away

Former crew coach and Instructor in English, William “Bill” H. Brown ’34 passed away this past November at the Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Maine due to complications from a fall he sustained. He was 94 years old. “One of the things that was very important to him was that he was a teacher. At the age of 94, he was still teaching. That’s what he did,” said Peter Washburn, Instructor in Math and Head Coach of Boys’ Varsity Crew. “He was a pretty amazing man.” Brown, whose career at Andover spanned 41 years, retired in 1979. In 1955, he founded the Andover Crew program with only three boats. According to Paul Kalkstein ’61, former Instructor in English, Brown contacted Dutch Schoch, the then Princeton Varsity Rowing Coach, while at the Princeton College Board Exam reading. “Brown managed to pry an old eight-oared shell, in need of some repair,” Kalkstein wrote in an email to The Phillipian. Brown received boats from Yale and Harvard in addition to Princeton. Brown and a friend then discovered an abandoned canoe club on the Merrimack River and soon launched the school’s rowing program. According to Kalkstein, the Andover crew team won a spot to race at the renowned Henley Royal Regatta in England two years after the beginning of the program. During his time at Andover, Brown also coached golf, basketball, hockey and football. He served as the House Counselor of Pease House during his time at Andover. He also managed to start a school sailing program on Lake Cochichewick in North Andover. Kalkstein said students who participated in the sailing program built their own boats. Kalkstein said Brown and his wife were extremely generous hosts; Brown often invited other teachers to his house for dinner and conversation. Tom Cone, Instructor in Biology, wrote in an email, “[Brown was] a very kind and generous person [who] loved life with students, faculty and staff at PA.” “Mr. Brown was a natural teacher,” he continued. After retiring from Andover, Brown moved to Bath, Maine where he continued to teach. Cone said Brown frequently tutored students over the summer in addition to his activities during the academic year. Kalkstein said Brown had recently been teaching a course titled “Can Poetry Save the Earth?” at Midcoast Senior College, where he had been teaching since the school’s establishment 10 years ago. At his memorial service, one of Brown’s close friends recounted that when Brown’s doctors inquired about his activities prior to his retirement 31 years ago, Brown replied, “I taught. Still do.” “[Brown] was a man of strong opinions, although he could, on rare occasions, change his mind when the evidence ran strongly in another direction,” Kalkstein wrote. “He was gruff on the outside, but he loved his students and always talked about their accomplishments.” In an article for the Midcoast Senior College newsletter, Kalkstein wrote, “[Brown] richly enjoyed, and often quoted, comments from the students in his classes. This delight was a constant, from his long career teaching youth at Andover to every course he taught at Senior College. No matter the politics, no matter the personalities, the world was always fresh, and there were always wonders to share.” Brown was born in Reading, Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard in 1938, the same year he began teaching at Andover.