Borden Brown

Hartford Oct. 2009

Borden Brown, Harvard Class of 1960, Of West Hartford and Niantic, husband of Susan McAuliffe Brown, Brown died Sunday at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center. He was 70. A Harvard-trained physician, a decorated combat veteran and a founding partner and former president of Radiology Associates of Hartford, Dr. Brown was happiest at home with his wife, their four children and, in recent years, seven grandchildren.

Borden Brown was a medical student in 1961 when he asked college sophomore Susan McAuliffe to a hockey game. He began to explain a stoppage in play; she told him she knew what a two-line pass was. On their second date, he proposed marriage. Wed in April 1963, they were devoted to each other. A lifelong sportsman, he served for many years as a board member of the West Hartford Youth Hockey Association, kept league statistics and wrote up game summaries for The West Hartford News. He coached all of his children in the West Hartford boys' and girls' youth soccer associations, and loved supporting his children and grandchildren at their sporting events, plays, concerts and other performances.

Borden and Susan are the parents of Andrew Borden Brown and his wife, Amy, of Glastonbury; Matthew Hay Brown and his wife, Carmel, of University Park, Md.; Emily Burrell (Brown) Coyne and her husband, David, of Guilford; and Martha Michaela Brown and her husband, David Hutchman, of Ardmore, Pa. They are the grandparents of Chloe, Daniel, Charles Borden, Grace, Shannon, Samantha and Alexandra Borden. In addition to his wife, children and grandchildren, he leaves a brother, Blair Brown and his wife, Carol, of Newton, MA; many nieces and nephews, and many friends. Born May 24, 1939, in Fall River, MA, to Dr. Samuel and Kathryn (Borden) Brown, Borden Brown grew up in Fall River and Hyannis, where he was a two-time New England champion in the Beetle Cat class of sailing boat.

He attended the Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard College, where he studied biochemistry and Russian literature and lettered in sailing. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1964, he completed an internship at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge and began a residency in internal medicine at the Boston VA Hospital.

In 1966, as young doctors were being drafted to serve in Vietnam, he enlisted as a captain in the Army Medical Corps. He served at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio before joining the Ninth Infantry Division at Tan Tru in the Mekong River Delta in 1967. He was decorated for heroism with valor for his actions of December 23, 1967, when, his base came under what the Army described as "a devastating mortar attack." From the citation: "In complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Brown began to sprint for the medical aid station, knowing that there would be casualties...Captain Brown's helmet was riddled and he received a painful shrapnel wound in the back. Nevertheless, he jumped to his feet and reached the aid station where he calmly treated all casualties in his usual professional manner. Only after all the injured were treated did he ask the senior aidman to examine him." It is very much in keeping with his manner that he would run through mortar fire to meet his responsibility to help others -- and also that his children learned of the details only when reviewing the records after his death. He received a Purple Heart for his wound, the second of two he sustained in combat.

On returning to Boston, Dr. Brown completed a residency in radiology at Beth Israel Hospital and a fellowship in angiography at Boston City Hospital. He became acting director of angiography at Boston City before he had finished the fellowship. He joined St. Francis and came to Connecticut in 1972 as the first angiographer in the Hartford area. In 1976, he and several colleagues formed Radiology Associates of Hartford, a private practice in partnership with St. Francis. He loved the practice of diagnostic medicine, and believed the education and training that he had received carried with it an obligation to serve and to teach. After a long career of full-time work plus night and weekend call, he cut back in recent years to several days a week. He always planned to retire -- in a couple of years. He continued to practice until his diagnosis with lymphoma in September.

Borden Brown was a lifelong sailor, first at Hyannis, where his parents kept a summer home, later at the family camp in New Brunswick, Canada, and in recent years in the waters around Niantic. He loved puzzles, quizzes, math problems and all manner of games, as both spectator and participant. He was an early member of the Society for American Baseball Research. He played piano and listened to jazz, folk, blues and gospel music, passing on to his children a love of music. He read history and biography, and followed politics and public affairs.

Most of all, he loved his family, cherishing Susan, delighting in how different each of their children are, and making certain they all knew how proud he was of each of them. He was an adoring and supportive patriarch, closely involved with all of his children and grandchildren.

The family is grateful to the doctors, nurses, technicians and staff of St. Francis for their attention and loving care during his last weeks. Friends and colleagues were invited to join the family in celebrating his life at a Memorial Service on October 17, at the Town and County Club in Hartford. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.