Robert Emmett Brown
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 18, 2020
Born: March 16, 1942

Died: May 15, 2020

Married: Patricia P. Patterson

Robert Emmett Brown was a member of the faculty at North Country Community College from 1969 until his retirement in 1996 as a Student Services Advisor and Professor of Social Sciences, teaching Social Science and Anthropology.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 18, 2020

Robert Emmett Brown, age 78, of Saranac Lake, died Friday, May 15, 2020 following a brief illness at the University of Vermont Medical Center with his wife Pat by his side.

Born in Olean, New York, on March 16, 1942, he was the son of Emmett and Ruth (Underwood) Brown.

Bob attended high school at the Newburgh Free Academy Class of 1960, where he was president of the debate team. He continued his education at Orange County Community College graduating in 1962 with an Associate Degree in Business Administration, Rider College, graduating with a BA Degree in Business Administration in 1964 and Syracuse University with a Master’s Degree in Student Personnel Administration in 1965. Following graduation from Syracuse University Bob was employed at the NYS Alfred Ag & Tech College Student Services as the Dormitory Director from 1966-1969. He joined the North Country Community College Faculty in 1969 and worked there until his retirement in 1996 as a Student Services Advisor and Professor of Social Sciences, teaching Social Science and Anthropology.

Bob is a veteran of the United States Army serving as Sergeant 1st Class US Army from December 1966 to September 1968 and was stationed at the US Pentagon Washington D.C. Department of Secret Intelligence. Bob was the first person in the United States to be notified that the USS Pueblo was captured by North Korean forces.

Bob was very active in his community serving as Past Master and Chaplain of Whiteface Mountain Masonic Lodge #789, past president and life member of Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club, and past president and member of Franklin County Federation of Fish and Game Clubs. He also served as the Franklin County Delegate to New York State Conservation, Council Member of the Region 5 Department of Conservation Advisory Board Community Delegate, served on the Local Prison Advisory Board and was a NYS Hunter Training Instructor 45 plus years.

Bob married Patricia P. Patterson on June 19, 1965 in Cuddebackville, New York and together they shared nearly 55 years of wonderful companionship.

Although Bob and Pat never had any children of their own they were blessed with knowing, intimately, so very many of Bob’s North Country students, many of whom they continued to share special memories with over the course of passing years. They ALL know who they are.

Bob and Pat have been extremely active in the Saranac Lake community, having served on the All-America City committees and as the 1999 Winter Carnival King and Queen. He also very much enjoyed and was very proud of his work with the Riverwalk. Bob was featured on pages 10 and 11 of the book Adirondack Faces, by Mathias Oppersdorff, c. 1991.

Bob loved hunting and fishing and his Adirondack Mountains. For him it wasn’t necessarily about bagging that trophy buck or a massive bass, but the pure joy of watching wildlife, such as a turkey displaying for the favor of a hen. He eagerly anticipated daily visits from deer to his property, especially one affectionately named Clippy.

Bob is survived by his wife of 55 years, Pat of Saranac Lake, one brother Emmett and wife Debbie of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions private family services and burial will take place at Harrietstown Cemetery in Saranac Lake at the convenience of the family. As per Bob’s wishes, a celebration of Bob’s life will take place at a later date to be announced once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Friends wishing to remember Robert Emmett Brown may make memorial contributions to the Local Masonic Lodge 789 Charity Fund or the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club Youth Activities in care of the funeral home. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at

Editorial, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 21, 2020


Bob Brown was one of the nicest guys you could meet — and you met him everywhere in Saranac Lake, because he was everywhere.

He was involved in all kinds of local projects, but beyond those, if you were hosting a public concert, dinner, fundraiser, hearing or roundtable and were wondering who would show up, it was a fairly safe bet that Bob and his wife Pat would be among the first to arrive.

He looked like Santa Claus and had the personality to match. He was so outgoing and garrulous that people opened up to him as well. He was so honest that you couldn’t be false with him. He was so friendly that he was surrounded by friends.

Bob’s death on Friday came as a surprise, Pat told us. He was 78.

Bob and Pat grew up in the Hudson Valley and came to Saranac Lake for North Country Community College, where Bob was one of the early faculty members, teaching sociology and anthropology. He also is remembered as the professor who would bring kegs to the parties, back when the drinking age was 18.


He and Pat never had children, biologically, but they took countless NCCC students under their wings, and some effectively became their children. Some of those students’ children call them Grandma and Grandpa, Pat told us.

Bob was passionate about hunting and fishing, and this was how many people knew him: perhaps as a state hunter training instructor, perhaps as organizer of the Father’s Day Fishing Derby at Lake Colby, perhaps as past president of the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club or of the Franklin County Federation of Fish and Game Clubs. He was also effective at representing this area to the New York State Conservation Council and the state Department of Environmental Conservation: He informed local club members what was coming down from Ray Brook and Albany, and relayed local hunters’ and anglers’ concerns back up to policy makers. He was always easy to get a hold of and — no surprise — always willing to talk. He wanted everyone to know what was going on.

Sometimes people had cause to disagree with him because he didn’t hide his opinions, but he was always willing to talk about it and believed strongly in fair play. He was a staunch defender of gun rights, as the giant NRA sticker on the back of his SUV attested. He was also a staunch conservationist. He was a thorn in the side of the Saranac Lake Marina owners as he publicly proclaimed that their plan to build docks into Lower Saranac Lake’s Ampersand Bay would disrupt fish spawning. He also called out a hydroelectric company for damaging about 3 miles of trout spawning habitat on the Chateaugay River in 2006, when it released far more than the permitted amount of sand and silt from behind a dam.

The Saranac Lake River Walk was a pet project for Bob and Pat. They were leaders in bringing it about, and the River Walk became one of the reasons this village was honored as an All-American City in 1998 — and Bob and Pat were on the All-America City committee, naturally. For years afterward, they were leaders on the River Corridor Commission that maintained the walk, picked up garbage, planted flowers, helped second-graders with their garden and erected interpretive signs. We especially think of Bob every time we pass the signs about which fish one might catch in the Saranac River, and the bugs those fish like to eat.

The local Masonic Lodge was also very important to Bob, and he went out of his way to invite the public into its halls to lift its air of mystery and show everyone there was nothing to fear. Many remember him welcoming them to the Masons’ middle school essay contests or Winter Carnival pancake breakfasts.

Bob and Pat were Winter Carnival king and queen in 1999, the first of only two married couples ever chosen to be monarchs together — and deservedly so. They have been a wonderful team, prominent among those working tirelessly for this community. We miss him, too, Pat, but know that you hold just as special a place in the heart of this village.

Two more articles praising Bob Brown appeared in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise on Friday, May 22, 2020. Amy Cheney-Seymour wrote a Guest Commentary titled "Brown University of Northern NY," especially remembering Bob and Pat as neighbors when the author was a child. In his column, "Long live the king!," Bob Seidenstein remembered Bob as a fellow teacher, a zealous member of local organizations, and as Winter Carnival King.