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Franklin Moore Brown

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Photo Dyke Brown (Franklin Moore Brown) Founder of the Athenian School In Danville, California, Passes Away. Born April 16, 1915, and passed away peacefully December 16, 2006 at St. Paul's Towers in Oakland, California. Dyke Brown was born in San Francisco and graduated from Piedmont High School in 1931. Prior to attending UC Berkeley, Brown attended the Schule Schloss Salem in Germany. The school's director, respected educator, Kurt Hahn, embraced a humanistic philosophy of education and deeply influenced Brown in his founding of the Athenian School in 1965. At UC Berkeley, Brown immersed himself in the study of philosophy, politics and economics. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley in 1936, Dyke attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he received a B.A. and M.A. in politics, economics and philosophy. During his studies at Oxford, Brown met his future bride, Catherine Whiteley (from York, PA), while traveling in Italy. After earning a law degree with honors from Yale in 1941, he was immediately hired as assistant dean and assistant professor of law at Yale. As America stepped into WWII, Brown was appointed flag lieutenant and aide to Admiral Jules James, commander of the Sixth Naval District, Charleston, SC. From 1942-1945, he was on active duty with the U.S. Navy. After the war, Dyke returned to San Francisco, where he practiced law from 1946 until 1953, first for three years with the prominent attorney John Francis Neylan and later at the firm of Cooley, Crowley and Gaither. From 1949 to 1950, as a partner in Cooley, Crowley and Gaither, Brown assisted Mr. Gaither in setting up a plan to expand the scope of the Ford Foundation's grant programs. In 1953, Brown was elected a vice president of the Ford Foundation, a position he held for the next ten years in New York City. Living in Scarsdale, NY, Dyke focused closer attention on education and was elected to serve for a few years on Scarsdale's Board of Education. During his years with the Ford Foundation, Dyke concentrated his work on youth development and juvenile delinquency, and was primarily responsible for the Ford Foundation's Public Affairs Program, as well as the Program in Economic Development and Administration. In 1962 Dyke left the Ford Foundation and founded the Athenian School in Danville, CA, which opened in 1965. Dyke was progressive in his vision of a school that emphasized both intellectual fitness and moral virtue. Far ahead of his time, he realized the importance of community service, international understanding, diversity, environmental stewardship and outdoor challenge - combined with rigorous intellectual inquiry - as integral parts of an ideal curriculum. Then, as now, Athenian inspired students to become life-long learners and to make a positive difference in the world. After stepping down as director of Athenian in 1977, Brown coordinated with the Hewlett Foundation to create the Child Development Project, which focused on pro-social development of youth. This program continues today. Beyond Dyke's professional life, one of his greatest pleasures was summers spent at Echo Lake in a cabin built by his parents in the 1920s, first as a child, and then with his wife Kate, their three children and many friends and relatives. He loved to sail and swim, play the accordion for his grandchildren and tinker in his carpentry shop. Dyke was pre-deceased by his wife, Kate, in 1996, after 56 years of marriage. They had three children: Tish Campbell (Jack) of Oakland, Susan Nebesar (Charles) of Danville, and Chris Brown (Elizabeth) of Boulder, Colorado. Grandchildren, Eric Sprague, Ethan Sprague and Cullen Sprague; Darren Nebesar-Gross, Alex Nebesar, and Kevin Brown; and six great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his older brother, Gary. An Evening of Remembrance is being planned for Friday, January 12, at 7:00 p.m. at the Athenian School in Danville, CA, in the Kate and Dyke Brown Hall. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his name to either the Dyke Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund or the Kate Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund c/o The Athenian School, 2100 Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd., Danville, CA 94506-2002.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 24, 2006
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