John Brown passes away at 73
SUMMERSIDE - One of the key players in building Summerside as a sports hosting capital has died.
John “Jack” Brown passed away at Prince County Hospital on Friday. He was 73.
Former Summerside recreation director Bill Schurman worked closely with Brown throughout the 1980s, 1990’s and into 2000 to bring national and international softball events to the city.
“John was a go-getter,” Schurman said. “Certainly someone who had a very interesting outlook on life in terms of trying to make things better in each and everything he was involved in.”
Schurman said Brown was a key piece of the group that came together in the early 80s to begin Summerside’s quest to become Canada’s tournament town.
“We did that over time and certainly John’s contribution to that was very, very important at that time,” he said. “He was working for the Department of Health and we spent an awful lot of time wit him organizing, bidding for and dreaming about things that could happen in our community and John was a big part of that.”
Brown was part on the contingent from the city that traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1992 when the city bid for the ISC world softball championship.
“Against all odds, and John made a big contribution as did all of the stakeholders in the community, we defeated Vancouver, New York, Salt Lake City, Winnipeg, we beat out some very serious municipalities to win the right (to host the event). John’s contribution was very pivotal.”
Schurman described Brown as a “very likeable and passionate person.”
“He always looked out for various causes and ways in which to improve needs in the area such as ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - Lou Gehrig’s Disease),” he said. “He was instrumental in helping us through some of our events and we made some contributions to the North American ALS Society through John’s efforts. It was good run we had and John was a part of it. Very few communities of our size had a run like that.”
Kevin Quinn, president of Softball Canada said Brown’s contributions were immeasurable.
“He was kind of a pioneer in bringing international events into Summerside,” he said. “When we took the first Junior Men’s Worlds to Summeride back in 1989, John was certainly a leading force in bringing that in. It was his dream to actually host such an event and he did a lot of the background hard work to make sure we got the event to host. And then he stayed on the group in Summerside to make sure they did a good job wit it.”
Quinn said in 2005 Brown spearheaded another group which hosted the world softball championships once again.
“He was certainly a leader in trying to bring national events to Summerside,” he said. “He was also involved in bringing in the first Canadian championship, a junior men’s in 85.”
Quinn said the ability to host these national and international events left a strong legacy for Summerside with the improvements to Queen Elizabeth Park.
“Now they’ve got great fields to host events on if they want to,” he said. “That’s the secret of hosting these events - to make sure there is a legacy left behind. His work has to be congratulated.”
Schurman, speaking on behalf of himself and all of the committees Brown was associated with, extended sympathy to the Brown family and thanked Brown for his tireless work over the years.
Resting at the East Prince Funeral Home, 245 Pope Road, Summerside, until Monday, Jan. 6, then to St. John the Baptist Church, Miscouche, for a funeral mass at 2 p.m. Interment to take place at a later date in the church cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Cat Action Team or the P.E.I. Humane Society would be greatly appreciated. Visiting hours on Sunday afternoon only, 2-5 p.m. If you would like to send a condolence to Jack’s family, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Arrangements entrusted to the East Prince Funeral Home.