Brown, Douglas Randl "Randy." Randy Brown was one of Wichita's most vibrant, kind, funny, curious, intuitively intelligent, articulate citizens. He was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, television news anchor and senior fellow at Wichita State University. He had a no-nonsense view of the world and its inhabitants that translated into concise language and thorough, direct, focused reporting. His natural inclination to report what he knew in the face of established dogma was honed in a peripatetic 50-year career. His five years of editorial opinions were progressive and relentless, rational arguments for a better city. He reported on sports for the San Angelo Standard Times, The Lubbock Avalanche Journal and the Oklahoma Journal in Oklahoma City and as a general reporter for the Dallas Morning News and as an editor at the Fort Worth Star Telegram. He worked at the Wichita Eagle several times for over twenty years, as assistant city editor, executive sports editor, sports columnist and editorial page editor. He was part of a team of reporters at the Omaha Sun that won a 1973 Pulitzer Prize for their exposure of Boys Town's obscenely excessive enrichment while pleading heart-wrenching poverty. He helped found the weekly Wichita Sun in 1974 serving as executive editor for three years. At KAKE TV he was a managing news editor and "Live at Five" anchor. His 1985 coverage of the area's first school shooting at Goddard Junior High School was exemplary, cool headed and emblematic of his calm direct approach to chaotic situations in desperate need of explanation. When he left the Eagle for the last time in 2001, he became a senior fellow in the Wichita State University Elliott School of Communication. A conversation with Randy was enlightening and informative. You always knew where he stood and why he stood there. He could demolish a defective argument with a single deft line. He was quick to laugh and did so with an infectious pleasure. He was slow to condemn. When he did, the judgment withstood time and test. Those judgments were almost always of the actions and rarely of the person acting. He was a humanist without the philosophical baggage of the term. His natural kindness to friends and family who met misfortune was extended frequently and quietly. He loved a good story well told and told many with an efficient and pointed clarity. He could have a beer at Kirby's with Wichita's demimonde, discussing politics and human nature there as easily as he could while interviewing Gloria Steinem, Alf Landon and Ralph Nader. Possessed of the gift of not taking himself too seriously, he appeared on a voter's doorstep and introduced himself by saying, "Madam, I may have lost my mind, but I'm running for the Kansas Legislature." His slogan was "Getting Things Done.Getting things done was something Randy did with dispatch. He loathed bureaucratically wasted time that could have been spent doing something. His tireless advocacy for transparency through The Kansas Sunshine Coalition forced Kansas's governments to become more open and responsive to their citizens. The Wichita Park and Library boards, the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board and the Kansas Board of Healing Arts were all beneficiaries of his experienced wisdom and wit. Born in Texas on November 25, 1940, he lived 73 lively, thoughtful years. He was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. He died July 23, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Linda Parks; his sons, Chris (Shaunnah) of Wichita and Chad of Kiev, Ukraine; stepdaughter, Keisha Kingdon; brothers, Gary Brown of Arlington TX, and Robert Brown of Austin TX; grandchildren, Ethan Douglas Brown, Hayley Wilson and Kara Wilson. His brother, Larry, pre deceased him. A visitation is scheduled at Downing and Lahey East Mortuary on Sunday from 5 to 6:30 P.M. The funeral service is 11 A.M., Monday, July 28, 2014 at East Heights United Methodist Church. Memorials are at The Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government c/o Elliott Department of Mass Communications at Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260, and The
, 330 S. Main St. #100, Wichita, KS 67202. Randy loved the stage. From his work as writer and emcee of Gridiron to his role as the stage manager in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," he was a lively, energetic performer. His life was a bravura beautiful performance. And now, our town is a diminished and a darker place. Share tributes online at: www.dlwichita.com
Downing & Lahey Mortuary, Inc.
6555 EAST CENTRAL WICHITA, KS 67206-1924
Published in The Wichita Eagle from July 26 to July 27, 2014