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DUNCAN FRASER BROWN - SHELBURNE - Life's long journey ended peacefully for Duncan Fraser Brown on July 22, 2011, at Wake Robin in Shelburne. He was born in Boston, Mass. on May 8, 1921, the son of William and Estelle Brown. Most of his youth was spent in Cincinnati, OH but those early years included many trips to Greensboro, Vt., where summer days spent on Lake Caspian planted a seed of love for Vermont that would bring him here to the Green Mountain State in 1949. His elementary education began at the Lotspeich School in Cincinnati and he received his high school diploma from South Kent School in South Kent, Conn. in 1938. He graduated in 1942 from Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass. with a degree in Philology. An obscure field perhaps but Philology is the study of language and literature. An oft repeated quote of his was "Language is man's most important tool, bar none." He entered the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served as a gunnery officer on destroyer escorts doing convoy duty in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In addition to wartime service he joined the Naval Reserve in 1949 and retired in 1954 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In 1944, he met a wonderful young woman in Cincinnati named Olivia Ramsey and they were married on May 2, 1945. This spring they celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. Duncan and Georgie, as she is known, had five children together; Olivia "Muffie," Duncan "Kim," Peter, Melissa and Annie. His work life was productive. He went to work in the life insurance industry in Cincinnati following the war and when a position in faraway Burlington, Vt. was offered to him, he jumped at the opportunity to move his young family here. He never regretted it. He worked for State Mutual of America, did spend a brief four-year period in Massachusetts, which for the most part he regretted until he escaped back to Vermont in 1962. Safely home he founded Brown, Bridgman and Company with Luther Bridgman. Luther was a friend and a skier and his influence unleashed a passion for skiing that took its place along side his love of sailing and of tennis. He had a devotion to civic service in keeping with his belief that if you wanted to complain about government you had better be ready to participate. He served on town Republican committees, became a close friend of Governor Richard Snelling whom he first served as a campaign treasurer and later in many other capacities. He was a chairman of the Chittenden County Act 250 Commission, served as Chair of the Vermont Water Resources Board, of the Hospital Data Council and later on the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care. Imbued with a passion for the value of education, he was a lifelong supporter of both South Kent School and Harvard University, serving as chairman of Harvard's Vermont Schools and Scholarship Committee. In 1993, following his retirement from the active business community, he found more time for other activities. Always passionate about classical music, he was a longtime supporter and member of the Vermont Mozart Festival. With his wife Georgie, trips were taken to diverse corners of the world. Duncan and Georgie, also in the 1970s, began work with other couples on a vision of a retirement community that would eventually come to fruition as a place called Wake Robin where his life came to its conclusion. Duncan is survived by his wife, Olivia, known to all as Georgie; daughter, Olivia "Muffie" Milens and her husband, Sanders, and their daughter, Hillary; by Duncan F. Brown II, "Kim" and his wife, Jane, and their daughter, Abigail; son, Peter and his wife, Maricar, and their sons, Willie and Dylan; daughter, Melissa; and daughter, Annie Voldman and her husband, Steven, and their children, Aaron and Rachel. A
non-denominational memorial service will be held on Monday, July 25, 2011, at 3 p.m. at the All Souls Church located at 291 Bostwick Farm Road in Shelburne. A reception will follow at Wake Robin in Shelburne. Those wishing to make a memorial gift should send it to The Snelling Center for Government, 6221 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT 05482. Shiva will be observed in the Voldman residence following burial service, details available from Ohavi Zedek Synagogue.

Published in The Burlington Free Press from July 23 to July 24, 2011
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