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Claude W. Brown

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Claude W. Brown Obituary
Claude W. Brown

Teacher, world traveler, tennis player, photographer, and fisherman, Claude Brown lived an amazing life in his 88 years and was a longtime resident of San Pedro.

Born in Wilmington, Claude was raised by his divorced mother, Adeline, in downtown Los Angeles. In his teens, he sold newspapers on the corner outside the historic Mayfair Hotel. After high school, he enlisted in the Navy and served on the U.S.S. Hector, WWII Pacific repair ship, 1943-46. Claude graduated from Los Angeles State College and received his M.A. at Long Beach State College in 1957. In 1951, he began his career teaching business education classes at San Pedro High School until 1983. Over 32 years, Mr. Brown enlightened SPHS students in typing, bookkeeping, accounting, and tennis, and served as senior sponsor. Following in his father's footsteps (Claude Watson Brown Sr.), Claude also worked summers on the waterfront as a marine clerk and member of ILWU 63.

A self-described free thinker with wanderlust in his blood, Claude took sabbatical leave in 1958 and traveled across Europe with his first wife of 31 years, Lora, in a VW Bug with their four kids packed in the back seat. The family trips continued across the U.S. for years to come, camping with fellow teacher and best friends, Glen Gallaher and family. Following his retirement, Claude traveled with his second wife of 28 years, Maxine, to many exotic places on six continents and enjoyed attending professional tennis tournaments. He photographed every place he visited and amassed 9,000 slides with a diary for each journey. Claude was an avid tennis player and founding member of the Over the Hill Gang, a group who played tennis weekly at Peck Park for over 50 years. The Daily Breeze interviewed the Gang in 1998, and Claude expressed his fondness for San Pedro: "The city has grown, but the growth hasn't destroyed the spirit of community here. It's still a great place to be." One of his favorite pastimes was fishing any beach, pier, breakwater, lake, stream, or river. His children and their children all learned how to bait a hook because of him. Claude's humor, ability to hold his opinion in check, and non-judgmental attitude forged friendships for life.

Passed away on June 6, 2012, Claude was preceded in death by his devoted wives Lora (1977) and Maxine (2010), and daughter-in-laws Mary (2006) and Jenny (2012). He was Number One Devoted Dad to his children Tom, Patty Avilas (Carlos), Don, Kitty, and stepchildren Patricia Carney (Bill) and John Lutz. His blended family of travelers includes nine grandchildren, Kelly (Ed), Carlos, Krissy, Megan, Tim, Billy, Michael, Malia, and JD (Kui); and eleven great-grandchildren, Kikuye, Mineko, Zac, Kaleo, Joey, Courtney, Kalei, Kekoa, Iwi, Colleen, and Ireland.

A celebration of life for family and friends will be on August 5. For information, email [email protected] Claude gave generously to many organizations dedicated to social justice and the environment, and would welcome a donation to a non-profit of your choice. Or, take a loved one for a hike and go fishing in his memory. Please sign the guestbook
at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on July 15, 2012
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