BROWN PHILLIP FOSTER BROWN (Age 81) A leader in woodturning as a craft art, he left the world on July 14, 2018, with a legacy of the beautiful wood vessels, bowls, and sculptures in nine museums (including the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery), and many private collections. His life as a professional wood turner started in 1975 and overlapped his 30 years as an agricultural economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He moved to Washington, DC in 1959 for his first job with USDA. After serving in the Army and in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic (1963-1964), he returned to USDA, completed a master's degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of Maryland, and worked assisting farmers in setting up cooperatives around the country, including in Hawaii. He was a pioneering member of the American Association of Woodturners and its associated chapters Capitol Area Woodturners and Chesapeake Woodturners. He founded the Montgomery County Woodturners, and was recognized in 2017 by the Montgomery County Executive with a Lifetime Impact Award for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. He held leadership positions and was active in the James Renwick Alliance, Creative Craft Council, The Center for Art in Wood, and the Collectors of Wood Art. Phil continued to forge ahead and live as fully as he could for a year and a half after a diagnosis of terminal cancer. He was involved in finishing his artwork and making decisions about upcoming exhibitions until the end. Phil was born on June 6, 1937, to Maro Foster Brown and Marguerite Rickey Brown and raised in Denver, Colorado. His father was descended from Christopher Foster who came to America in 1635. His mother was related to the modernist sculptor George Rickey, whose work Phil loved. A member of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, he graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins in1959. Phil had three daughters with his first wife, Christine Nimmo, in Bowie, Maryland. In 2001 Phil married Barbara Wolanin and began life together in Bethesda, Maryland, where Phil added a woodturning shop to the house. Phil is survived by his wife, his daughters Stephanie Warner, Kate Visciani, and Alexandra Bradley, two step sons, six grandchildren, and sister Constance Bird. A memorial celebration will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 29 at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church. Memorial donations may be made to The Center for Art in Wood (141 N. 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106) for the Phil F. Brown Fund to support the Washington area collection visits of the Windgate International Turning Exchange Residency Program artists that Phil organized for the past five years.Memorial donations may be made to The Center for Art in Wood (141 N. 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106) for the Phil F. Brown Fund to support the Washington area collection visits of the Windgate International Turning Exchange Residency Program artists that Phil organized for the past five years.
Published in The Washington Post on Jul. 22, 2018.