Born in the coal mine town of Bluefield, West Virginia in 1921, Dr. William A. Brown came from a lineage of medical pioneers. Some patients may have been offered by his blunt, no-nonsense style, but they all admired his dedication to the delivery of quality medical care regardless of their ability to pay. After graduation from Howard University Medical School in 1945 and service in both WWII and the Korean War. Dr. Brown settled in Pasadena drawn by the majesty of the San Gabriel Mountains that reminded him of his Appalachian home.
Dr. Brown encountered hardship and racism in Pasadena being denied surgical privilege by several local hospitals that did not have nor desire a Black surgeon on staff. Nevertheless, he persevered and eventually was granted full surgical privileges. Against the odds, Dr. Brown designed and built his own medical building on the corner of Lake Ave & Woodbury Rd in Pasadena. Restrictive racial covenants prevented the sale of the land to anyone of African decent so Dr. Brown cleverly engaged the assistance of a sympathetic, White pharmaceutical representative who purchased the land then signed it over to him. Dr. Brown enjoyed evenings listening to jazz along L.A.'s famed Central Ave. (the Harlem of the West) and was an amateur saxophone player most of his life. He was an avid horseman who enjoyed long trail rides.
Dr. Brown retired as a physician & surgeon for the State CA-Dept of Corrections where he attempted to establish a drug treatment program, dismayed that no such program existed when the majority inmates were doing time for drug related offenses. Knowing the criminal justice system stacked against them, Dr. Brown encouraged the young inmates to seek the power of an education.
He survived by 3 children and a sister. Memorial services will be held at Woods-Valentine Mortuary Oct 2-3, 2009 from 12:00-5:00 p.m. In lieu of gift/flowers, Dr. Brown requests a donation to be made to United Negro College Fund. www.uncf.org