February 13, 2013

Feature obituary: Gregory Brown, 63, newspaper worker, volunteer firefighter

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH – Gregory Brown, a longtime distribution specialist at the Portland Press Herald and dedicated volunteer for the Scarborough Fire Department, died on Monday after suffering a stroke. He was 63.

Gregory Brown

Provided photo

PASSAGES

Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

Mr. Brown joined the Portland Press Herald in 1971 as a mail room inserter. He worked his way up the ranks to a utility worker, then a bench worker. He was currently a distribution specialist at the South Portland printing facility on Gannett Drive.

Tom McDougall, distribution manager at the Portland Press Herald, said Mr. Brown worked nights, from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., preparing newspapers for delivery. In recent years, he worked in a supervisory role. His primary job was to keep the machines running and the production flowing, McDougall said.

"He was kind of like a conductor ... coordinating things to keep the paper flowing out the door," he said. "He was a very good employee. He was well-liked by others. I don't think he had an enemy in the building."

Mr. Brown worked closely with 11 other people that were hired by the Press Herald in the 1970s.

He suffered a stroke around 10:30 p.m. Jan. 29 during his shift at the newspaper. McDougall said he was eating lunch with his co-workers when Mr. Brown dropped some crackers on the floor and struggled to pick them up. Workers noticed quickly that something was wrong and called 911. He was transported to Mercy Hospital in Portland. A couple of days later, he suffered a massive stroke.

"We are devastated," McDougall said.

He is survived by his former wife, Linda Brown, of Scarborough and their three children.

He was remembered by his family on Wednesday as a good father and hardworking guy, who was well-liked by others.

His former wife noted his passion for Boston sports teams. She said he collected jerseys and other sports memorabilia.

Though they had been divorced for many years, she said they had a good relationship.

"He was always willing to help when he could," she said. "If the kids needed something, he was there."

Mr. Brown was a dedicated volunteer for the Scarborough Fire Department for 35 years. He served at its Dunstan Station on Route 1. He was an early member of the department's per-diem firefighter program. He remained at per-diem status until 2007.

Fire Chief B. Michael Thurlow said Wednesday that Mr. Brown was a dedicated volunteer who always responded to calls in his district.

"He was very faithful about going and helping his neighbors in need," Thurlow said. "That's what set him apart from others. He gave us a full 30 plus years for which we are very appreciative."

Mr. Brown was also an avid bowler. His former wife said he bowled at the Big 20 Bowling Center in Scarborough for many years and participated in numerous leagues.

"He was an excellent bowler," she said. "Both of my boys are excellent bowlers because of him."

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com

 

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