"Heaven's my real home; I'm just here on a visit" was a favorite saying of Lorn Brown, 71, of Las Cruces, NM who returned home on Thursday, June 24 when he passed peacefully in his sleep at Memorial Medical Center. He was born in East Chicago, Indiana on September 18, 1938 to Harry and Dalene (nee Moore) Brown.
Lorn spent his childhood on the South Side of Chicago in the home of his mother and the company of his aunts Iva, Nina, Mary, Kathryn, Noreen and cousins Buddy, Peggy and Mary Jo. Following the death of his mother, he was welcomed into the family of Jack and Joy O'Brien, who had five teenage boys of their own whom he considered brothers. He remained lifelong friends with the boys from the neighborhood and looked forward to seeing them at their annual reunions.
He attended Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago, IL before joining the Air Force at the age of 15. Following stints in the Army, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine, he returned to Chicago where he worked in the steel mills while attending Midwestern Broadcasting School. After beginning his broadcasting career, he completed his Associates degree at Illinois Central College and took additional coursework at University of Illinois – Chicago. He furthered his craft by studying at the Ted Liss School of Performing Arts.
In June of 1961, he married Patricia Stein in Springfield, IL. They had two sons, Bonner and Richard. He often spoke proudly of their achievements; particularly Bonner's linguistic abilities and Rich's military service. On October 26, 1984, he married Elizabeth Burke in Hinsdale, IL. They had one daughter, Jacqueline. He was so proud to see the capable young women she has become and was excited for her future.
With his easy recollection of names and dates and his gift for storytelling, he found his calling as a sportscaster. Lorn's early career was spent in downstate Illinois, where he covered both high school and Illinois State University athletics. His excellence led to his 1973 induction into the Illinois Basketball Coach's Association Hall of Fame. While downstate, he worked as a precinct captain during the 1960 election campaign of President Kennedy. Although his career choice excluded his continued involvement in politics, it remained a vital interest throughout his life.
Lorn's first love was baseball and he had the opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming a big league announcer with the Iowa Oaks AAA farm club before making it to "The Show" with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1974. In 1976 he returned to his hometown and became the radio play-by-play announcer for the Chicago White Sox. He had fond recollections of being hired by Sox owner Bill Veeck, who advised him "Have Fun!" Over the years, he cherished the time spent with his partners in the booth including Mike Shannon (St. Louis Cardinals); Harry Carey, Del Crandall, Don Drysdale, Joe McConnell, Jimmy Piersall and Early Winn (Chicago White Sox); Johnny "Red" Kerr (Chicago Bulls); Bob Uecker (Milwaukee Brewers); Ralph Kiner (New York Mets). One of his most exciting moments was calling the game in 1983 when the White Sox clinched the division title. One of his favorite events to call was the annual charity softball game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Oak Brook Police.
Additionally, he announced for the Chicago Blitz; Chicago Cougars; Big Ten, ACC, Metro and Missouri Valley conferences, as well as Bradley, Drake, Notre Dame and DePaul universities. In 1994, he was delighted when he received a call from Mike Veeck, asking him to do the television coverage of the St. Paul Saints and returned to baseball for two years. Since arriving in Las Cruces in 2005, Lorn enjoyed working on the NMSU Coach's Show (radio) and doing public address for the Aggie women's softball team.
A member of AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild, he did many commercial and industrial voiceovers and appeared in the films Damien Omen II and Grumpier Old Men. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge with aspiring broadcasters and taught broadcasting modules at Illinois State University, Columbia College, Illinois Central College, Illinois Broadcast Center, National Sportscasters Camp and Seneca High School.
Lorn was a proud member of the Frank Leahy American Legion Post and supported the Red Cloud Indian Mission and Valentine Boys and Girls Club. He was awarded the USMC Iwo Jima Award for his work with wounded veterans. With his gift of gab, kind heart and ability to put those around him at ease, Lorn never met a stranger.
He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, sons Bonner (Craighton Cooper) Brown of Dallas, TX; Rich (Evelyn) Brown of Arlington, WA; daughter Jacqueline Brown of Las Cruces, NM; granddaughter Toni Marie Brown (Scott) Meek of Oceanside, CA; great-grandson Brendon Meeks of Oceanside, CA; brothers Bruce (Pam) Brown of Farmington Hills, MI; Earl (Bonnie) Brown of Ypsilanti, MI; David (Roxanne) Brown of Atlanta, GA; John (Kay) O'Brien of Libertyville, IL: Jim (Mary Ellen) O'Brien of Peru, IL; Mike (Linda) O'Brien of Crestwood, IL; Paul (Jane) O'Brien of Land o' Lakes, FL; Bill (Mary Jane) Ryan of Lambertville, MI; his beloved aunt Noreen Moore of Alexandria, VA; mother-in-law Marylea Burke of Las Cruces; cousin Buddy Keay of Calumet City, IN, as well as numerous in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.
Lorn is preceded in death by his brother Pat O'Brien; cousins Judy and Mary Jo; father-in-law Ned Burke and nephew Tebr Rothrock.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. at Getz Funeral Home on Monday, June 28 with Father Sean Garrity presiding. Burial will be at sea.
Memorial gifts or donations may be made to the athletic program of the Red Cloud Indian Mission or your favorite charity.
Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home corner of Solano and Bowman Ave., Las Cruces, NM 526-2419. To sign the online guest book go to www.GetzFuneralHome.com