Sidney Brown

Obituary of Sidney Brown

Sidney McLean Brown, 93, formerly of Selden St., Schenectady, NY, entered eternal life on January 29, 2021, with his family at his side. He was born at Albany Memorial Hospital on May 17, 1927 to the late Charles D. and Ruth (McLean) Brown. He grew up in Schenectady and graduated from Mont Pleasant High School in 1945. Sid was drafted and served as a paratrooper in the Army of Occupation, 11th Airborne Division in Sendai, Japan from 1945-47. While in Japan he received pilot's training at the 11th Airborne School of Aeronautics and became interested in photography. Over the years he would combine the two skills. Sid began his career in photojournalism as a staff photographer for the Schenectady Gazette in 1948 and became Chief Photographer from 1960 until his retirement in 1991. During his years at the Gazette, Sid won more than two dozen first, second and third prizes in NY State Associated Press news photo competition and was first prizewinner in a United Press International worldwide photo contest. He was action photo winner in the Eastern League Baseball Writers Association contest, sports photo winner with New York UPI in 1981, has won four New York State Fair news photo contest awards, and regional awards in the National Press Photographer Association competition. Sid's photos appeared in various publications including the New York Times, The Daily News, Life Magazine and World Book Encyclopedia. His photos have been shown in exhibitions at Union College, Syracuse University, Kent State University and regional upstate New York art galleries. His first one-man show entitled "Gazette Photo by Sid Brown" was exhibited at the Schenectady Museum in 1984. He was the recipient of the first annual Associated Press Bruce Cromie Award for his photo series of the New York State Thruway bridge collapse. He also received a citation from the AP Managing Editors Association of the US for outstanding participation in the news and news photo reports on the bridge collapse. Always moonlighting, Sid was often called upon by the police department to skillfully document crime and accident scenes. Sid worked for the Golub Corporation for many years, archiving new store openings and market centers across the region. Sid pursued his interest in flying throughout his life. He logged many hours and took photos from his Cessna 150, N1689Q. He was a life member of the Empire State Aerosciences Museum, sharing his love of flying by giving plane rides to inner-city children in the museum's "Operation Turn-On" program. An avid skier, Sid enjoyed combining his love for the sport with his job, often taking photos for the Gazette's ski page. He and his family skied together most weekends and holidays. In the warmer months, Sid and his wife Doris played golf at the Knights of St. John and golf courses throughout the region. Sid and Doris also enjoyed roller skate dancing and playing doubles tennis. An active congregant at the former Woodlawn Reformed Church in Schenectady since a young boy, Sidney was a deacon, elder and property committee chair. After Sid retired from the Gazette, he became involved with helping his son Garry develop an old building on Troy's waterfront. They opened the first microbrewery in the Capital District in 1993. Twenty-eight years later, Brown's Brewing Company remains a popular microbrewery and restaurant. During the years he worked in Troy with his son, Sid became active in the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway Museum where he served as board member and volunteer. Sid enjoyed both vegetable and flower gardening. He was a member of the Central Park Rose Garden Restoration Committee and along with his wife Doris, was a long-time volunteer in the rose beds, pruning and tending to the lovely garden designed years before by his father Charles D. Brown. During his last decade in Schenectady, Sid was an active volunteer in the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association Restoration Project. A longtime supporter of the Arts, Sidney introduced his family to Schenectady Light Opera Company, Colonie Coliseum, and Saratoga Performing Arts Center. In later years, He belonged to the American Theater Organ Society and enjoyed theater and organ performances at Proctors Theater and summer concerts at Music Haven in Central Park. Sid married Doris Mageean in 1951.They met at the Gazette while Doris was working in the Classified Advertising Department. After living in Schenectady for 65 years, Doris and Sid moved to Hoosick Falls to live next door to their son Garrett and his family. They were warmly embraced by their new community in September 2020, when the Hoosick Falls Historical Society presented an exhibit of Sidney's photography. In addition to Doris, his wife of 69 years, he is survived by his sister Miriam A. Brown of Niskayuna, NY; a cousin Janet Lockwood of Greenville, NY; daughters Linda Ellen Brown of Delmar, NY, Laurie (Eugene) O'Brien of Swampscott, MA; a son, Garrett (Kelly) Brown of Hoosick Falls, NY. Sid was predeceased by his son Sidney McLean Brown, Jr. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Christopher Brown O'Brien, Anna O'Brien Racki of Swampscott, Abigail Grace, Nora Joy and Mageean Rose Brown of Hoosick Falls, NY; three great-grandchildren, Bryce Sidney Racki and Maeve Josephine Racki, and Theodore August O'Brien, all of Swampscott, MA. Sid is also survived by a brother-in-law, Viggo Christensen of Schenectady, NY; three nieces and one nephew. A celebration of Sid's life will be planned later this year. If you wish, memorial contributions may be made to the Rose Garden Restoration Committee, PO Box 3814, Schenectady, NY 12303-3814 or The Alzheimer's Association of Northeastern, NY alz.org/northeasternny.
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