Longtime local publisher, U.S. Rep. ‘Bud’ Brown passes

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Brown Jr.

Brown Jr.

Clarence J. Brown, Jr., a nine-term Republican congressman from Ohio who was highly influential in U.S. energy and economic policy, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on the evening of Jan. 26, 2022 in Urbana.

He was 94.

Known to all as “Bud,” Brown also ran for governor of Ohio and, after losing that race, served as deputy secretary and acting secretary of the Department of Commerce under President Reagan.

Brown helped shape major new laws passed in response to the national energy crisis in the 1970s as the ranking Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Power Subcommittee (of what was then the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee and is now the Energy and Commerce Committee).

Brown represented the Seventh Congressional District of Ohio as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives for 17 years, from 1965 to 1983. He was first elected in a special election to succeed his father, Clarence J. Brown, Sr., who had represented the district for 27 years, from 1938 to 1965. The younger Brown was known for his constituent service and spent nearly every weekend in his congressional district, taking to heart his constituents’ needs.

He briefly served as acting secretary of Commerce following the untimely death in a horseback riding accident of Secretary Malcolm Baldridge. In his deputy secretary role, Brown served as the chief operating officer for the department.

Later, Brown served as president and chief executive officer of the United States Capitol Historical Society from 1992 to 1999.

Prior to his election to Congress, Brown worked as a journalist in his family’s business, Brown Publishing Company — which included The Times-Gazette, and the Wilmington News Journal and the Blanchester Star-Republican — which had been founded by his father. Following his father’s death, the younger Brown served as president of the company from 1965-1976 and chairman of the board from 1976-2002.

Bud Brown’s parents were Ethel McKinney Brown and longtime Congressman and Publisher Clarence Brown (1893-1965), who was born in Blanchester. Clarence Brown Sr. went to Blanchester public schools, then law school at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

Clarence Brown Sr. began his newspaper career in Blanchester in 1917 and was president of the Brown Publishing Company in Blanchester the rest of his life.

“”Fran and I were deeply saddened to hear of the death of our friend, Bud Brown,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Thursday. “It was my honor to succeed Congressman Brown as the representative from the old 7th Congressional District. Bud had represented the district for 17 years, caring deeply about the district and his constituents. He listened to them, and every day, he worked to try and take care of their problems. He had an amazing constituent services team.

“Bud was one of the leading Republican voices in Congress on energy policy and on economic policy. He understood the importance of cutting government waste and useless regulations, as well as cutting taxes to stimulate economic growth.

“Having succeeded his dad in office after he had served 27 years in Congress, both Bud and his father were dedicated public servants, working tirelessly to help people in Ohio and the nation.

“Bud Brown was a true statesman. We will miss him, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Joyce, and his children Clancy, Cate and Roy and their families.”

Brown was born in Columbus, on June 18, 1927; graduated from Western High School in Washington, D.C., 1944; earned a B.A. from Duke University, 1947, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, 1949; served in the United States Navy, 1944-1946 (V-12 Program) and 1950-1953 (Korean conflict).

Bud and Joyce had four children. The oldest, Beth, died in 1964 at age 7 after a three-year battle with leukemia.

Bud Brown is survived by his wife, Joyce Eldridge Brown; children, Clarence J. “Clancy” (Jeanne Johnson-Brown) Brown III, Catherine “Cate” Brown Brinnon and Roy Eldridge (Christine Nazarovech) Brown; and five grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions in Bud Brown’s name may be made to the BrownRidge Foundation, which provides assistance to benefit small communities, at 430 Scioto St., Urbana, Ohio 43078-0071.

Brown Jr.
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