The Bravest and Grumpiest
Yes, Capt. Patrick J. Brown was a firefighting hero. But oh, there was so much more. "Everything he tackled, he gave 300 percent," said Sharon Watts — onetime fiancée, ever a good friend — whether firefighting, music or yoga. He squeezed a baby grand into his apartment, and once puzzled a piano teacher who had arrived looking for "Little Patty Brown." He loved Broadway shows, saying that in another life he might have been a choreographer.
Ms. Watts recalled fondly that when she and Captain Brown, 48, a Vietnam veteran, started dating, he asked her to go with him to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Lower Manhattan. "We saw flowers that had been knocked over, and we set them up again."
When he worked in Harlem, he bicycled from his Stuyvesant Town apartment to 149th Street, but at Ladder Company 3 on 13th Street, she said, "he could run to his firehouse and take his yoga mat with him."
He was "a deeply spiritual man," said a friend, James Remar, "but he was far too humble to advertise that."
It was hard to pull him out of the city, said his sister, Carolyn Negron, who lives on Long Island. "He had to be around that action. My father used to say, 'If our house is on fire, he ain't coming.' "
Captain Brown sometimes called himself a "grumpy old man," Ms. Watts said, so for his 47th birthday, she hand-painted a cereal bowl for him that said "To Pat: FDNY's Bravest and Grumpiest."
He never married. "He had felt so much loss," she said. "He didn't want anyone close to him to feel the pain of losing someone."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 27, 2001.