STORY BY KAMESHIA JERAE HODGE, FNN EDITOR, ALUMNI BUREAU
DECEMBER 18, 2012. As we can tell from this tragically brutal day and age, life is not as simple as living, growing old, and dying. It’s about fellowships, golden moments, and making the most out of a violent and selfish time on this earth.
Dean Brown was one of the few people who I knew – and everyone who had the opportunity to interact with him can readily attest to this – who could turn a sour taste of defeat or anger into a bittersweet lesson of hope and inspiration. He was one of the most loving and kind people with a heart of pure gold. Dean cared about us students as much as he did his own family… and if he didn’t, it was difficult to tell; he mentored us in ways that only we can understand, lifted our spirits when people trampled on them, and made us laugh through our tears, all the while making manifest his high expectations for us by wholeheartedly encouraging us to follow our dreams and never give up on what we wanted our futures to become.
As I write this, I become emotional because Dean Brown was such a cool and easy man of God. He didn’t go around patronizing people, nor did he overwhelm us with, or enforce his religion on us. All he did was guide us to follow our own moral compasses. He assisted us in opening our eyes to the world around us – good and evil – for the sake of understanding our priveleges so that we could help those who were less fortunate than us. Dean Brown taught us self respect, love for our neighbors, and that education and decision making skills are the keys to being more successful.
Dean Brown’s legacy with Notre Dame and Friendship has been completely necessary. While he has left us at the early age of 44, there is no doubt that he will continue to live in the memories of everyone whom he has greatly impacted – from his brother, wife, and immediate family to his coaches, teammates, and teachers, and the large family that is known as FCA. Yes, Dean Brown has become legendary in the eyes and hearts of those of us who he has touched, but don’t let his death be in vain; teach others the good that they have inside so that they can see it. Smile. Be grateful just to be alive and healthy with all of your limbs and all of your senses. Tell the people you care about that you love them. Don’t argue over petty things, and forgive. Above all else, love. And then love ten times harder.
If you met Dean Brown, you know that this is what he lived by. If you didn’t, ask about him. Anyone who knew him can tell you that his heart was as big as his reputation. Dean Brown was an amazing man who helped create scores of amazing young leaders.
May he rest in peace, because he will certainly be missed terribly.
Kameisha Jerae Hodge is a 2007 graduate of Friendship Collegiate Academy and the online editor for ourfnn.com.