I, along with thousands of others from Rochester, Fairport, Canandaigua and beyond lost a great friend this weekend. Gary Brown, know to many as "Gator", passed with his family by his side Saturday afternoon. "Brownie" was a larger-than-life person. Not only large physically, but also in stature. He was a true legend in Fairport where he is a member of the FHS Hall of Fame. Gator was as proud of Fairport as he was of his wife Mary and sons Max, Mckenzie and Mikey.
I got to know Brownie when he owned a boat on Canandaigua Lake with his buddy Tom "Beamer" Hughes, another wonderful man who was not only a colleague at RG&E, but more importantly, Brownie's best friend. Gary shared his love for boating on Canandaigua Lake with his dad Dick, who taught our boy Gator how to maneuver the lake and life. Gator was known by all around my hometown's lake, almost as much for his humor as well as his friendly, easy going, charming personality. He would captain his vessel the legendary SFS, the Summer Fun Ship, Summer Fun in the Sun and other assorted titles that locals fondly knew the boat by. Needless to say, when Brownie and his boat were motoring around the lake, fun was surely to follow. I got to know many close friends because of Brownie, Beamer and that legendary fleet of fun. Some of my strongest ties in life remain to this day because of the relationships that were forged on SFS boat tours over the years. Eventually Brownie smartly settled down to start a family with the beautiful Mary and the boat sailed on with new fun owners who kept it's mission of summer fun alive as Brownie wanted.
Gary contributed so much to so many, not only by his humor and personality, but also by his actions. He was an instrumental figure in Fairport sports, as a coach, booster, parent, mentor and friend. Being from Canandaigua where sports play such a major role in my hometown, I can personally attest to the fact that Fairport was lucky to have Gary Brown as its biggest cheerleader. I thank the good folks of the Brown and Fairport families for sharing him with us. It is a major understatement that he will be truly missed, not only in Fairport and Canandaigua, but worldwide because he made that big an impact on so many.
Calling hours in memory of Gary Brown will be held this Wednesday and Thursday from 3p-7p at Keenan Funeral Home at 7501 Pittsford-Palmyra Rd. A mass to celebrate his incredible life will be Friday morning at 11am at St. John of Rochester. God bless Gator, Mary, Max, Mckenzie and Michael. And thank God for Brownie making the world a better place to live and laugh in!