Obituary of Edward Michael Brown

January 2, 2020

Edward Michael Brown, 77, of Westport MA and New York City passed away unexpectedly in the early morning hours of January 2, 2020 of severe damage to his heart.

Ed was born in 1942 in Chicago to Sam and Nancy Brown (nee Kirsch). He attended the University of Chicago, Loyola Medical School and did his residency at Yale University where he met his wife of 47 years, Judith Wolin.

The couple settled in Clinton, CT where they remodeled their first home while Ed continued to work in New Haven. Not long after, they moved to Providence, RI where he worked at Butler hospital as a psychiatrist. He opened a private practice in the basement of their home in Fox Point. After leaving Butler Hospital, he continued to work in private practice as well as begin a decades long commitment to treating severely mentally ill patients at the East Bay Mental Health Center and Riverwood Mental Health Center, now known as Thrive Behavioral Health. He also taught biomedical ethics and participated in the training of family practice doctors in the Brown University Medical School. After their two daughters were out of the house, he continued to work part time with these important organizations even while commuting to their new home in New York. He retired at the age of 70 and focussed full time on his lifelong passion for research into the history of psychiatry. Over the course of his adult life he worked steadily backward in time from his early research into railroad spine and shell shock to his most recent passion for 16th century diagnoses of scurvy and passing through every possible point in between. Much of this research resulted in publications in journals of the history of medicine and psychiatry.

He will be missed deeply for his wisdom, gentle heart, probing mind, dry wit, and keen photographic eye.

He is survived by his wife, daughters Jessica and Susanna, brother Rick, and countless others whose lives he touched.

He was very adamant that he did not want his passing marked by ceremony, so his family will be hosting an open house on Sunday, January 5th at their Manhattan residence, and will later host an informal memorial in Westport MA.

Donations in his memory in lieu of flowers or cards would be welcome. A few of his favorites included the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters, the Westport Land Conservation Trust and the Riverside Park Conservancy.

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I am so sorry to hear this. Your husband and father was a wonderful man who we all admired at East Bay Center. He was quiet but funny and he had great morals and ethics. He was one of a kind. I was a clinician on the Mobile Treatment Team. I would go on home visits with him. He was a true advocate.

Posted by: Cynthia Patistea - Middletown, RI - January 7, 2020

I was deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Brown's passing. I was fortunate to have worked with him at East Bay Mental Health Center on the Mobile Treatment Team from 2001-2003 as a colleague. I learned a lot from him even after many years as a psychiatric RN-he was a wonderful teacher, advocate for our clients and a gentle soul to be around.

Posted by: April Olmstead - , RI - January 7, 2020

My heart is saddened by the loss of such a wonderful man and clinician. I was the director of Community Support Services at East Bay Mental Health when he worked there. Dr. Brown was so compassionate and respectful of our clients and staff. He was a natural teacher and his soft sense of humor helped us navigate clinical and institutional challenges. I am very sad to hear this news.

Posted by: Carol Moser - Nokomis, FL - January 7, 2020

My heart aches hearing the news that Dr Brown passed away. Dr Brown was a sage, wise, caring, modest, humble, and thoughtful gentleman, and he was critical to my development as a psychiatrist. He was my psychotherapy supervisor when I was a resident at Brown in the late 80's and then we worked together for many years at East Bay Mental Health in the 90's.

Dr Brown brightened when talking about his family, his children's pursuits, his upcoming travel with Judy and his precious daughters, and his readings on the history of psychiatry.

I spoke with Dr Brown at length in 2003 when I was deciding to leave East Bay MHC and go into solo private practice and he years later contacted me and suggested I take over his hours at Riverwood MHC when he was reducing his hours and planning for his move to NYC. As a result I have been in private solo practice for 16 years and 5.5 years at Riverwood (now called Thrive Behavioral Health).

D Brown was admired, and adored by his patients, his students, his colleagues and staff . He was a role model as a man and clinician. I will miss his insight, humor, kindness and advice. Sincerely, Mindy

Posted by: Mindy Rosenbloom - Barrington, RI - January 9, 2020