Robert Lofton Brown

Obituary
  • "Senator Brown was a great professional leader who became a..."
    - Mary Johnson
  • "My sincere condolences to the family,may God..."
  • "You will be deeply missed. We were friends for many years...."
    - Angela Hicks
  • "I did not know Mr. Brown personally, but he always spoke to..."
    - Nathaniel Morris
  • "RIP Senator Brown. Well done, good and faithful servant. ..."
    - Mike

Robert Lofton Brown -MACON - Senator Robert Lofton Brown was born on January 30, 1950 to Joe Brown and Ruby Lofton Brown. After growing up in Greenville, Georgia, Robert graduated in 1971 from Mercer University in Macon. He lived in Macon for the rest of his life. -Robert developed a keen understanding of the political process through careful observation, personal participation as a candidate, service as a public official, work on the campaigns of numerous others, and lots of listening. Robert combined his formidable political knowledge and instincts with an unflagging enthusiasm to speak for those otherwise little heard in the halls of government -- people of color, the poor, everyday consumers, students, children, and animals. It was a rare combination. The most astute political observers tend to be attracted to big issues of interest to the most powerful. Robert differed by keeping his ear open for the faintest voices of those who needed to be heard, but who were typically drowned out by stronger voices with better access. -When advocating for a cause, Robert would occasionally trade his listening ear for a direct, witty voice and deft political maneuvering. Though Robert's path was destined never to lead to monetary riches, it did lead him to riches of a different sort - including the opportunity to have expertly served many people of all colors and conditions who may be surprised to realize that Robert was their faithful advocate. -Robert lost two races for the Georgia House before eventually winning a seat on the Bibb County school board, on which Robert eventually served as vice chair. In 1991, Robert ran for and won a hotly contested race for state senator against Robert Reichert and Jack Ellis, both of whom later served as Macon's mayor. In the Senate, Robert developed his unusual political gifts to the level of artistry, helping him to rise to assistant floor leader under Zell Miller, and in 2005, minority leader of Georgia's Senate. Robert served as the Senate's minority leader until this year, 2011, when he retired to run for mayor of Macon. -Robert's accomplishments in the political arena have often gone unsung, in part because of his self-effacing ways. The accomplishments were substantial, though, and remain of enduring significance. -Robert helped advance the health and education of children in Bibb County and throughout the state; advance the concept of racial non-discrimination as a basic human right in Georgia; preserve key elements of the HOPE scholarship program to help promising Georgians achieve college degrees; lead a commission on Macon/Bibb consolidation in the 1990s that paved the way for the current progress toward consolidation in this community; strengthen the position of consumers in unfair treatment by utilities; increase legal respect for animal rights; support the arts, for instance, by helping save the Douglass Theatre; and much, much more. -Apart from his life in politics, Robert was a fan of jazz music, reading, and collecting historical artifacts. He was preceded in death by his parents, but leaves many cousins, countless friends, a loyal political "family," and a grateful community of citizens whom he served tirelessly throughout his long career. He will be missed deeply as a quiet-but-tenacious, witty and generous friend and leader who lifted up the smallest among us to an honored place at the table. -Services will be held at the Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church, 2656 Napier Avenue, Macon, Georgia, at 1P.M. Wednesday, December 14.
Published in The Telegraph on Dec. 13, 2011