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Clarice Brown, 79, mother of mayor, dies

Clarice Brown, mother of Mayor Byron W. Brown, died early this morning at age 79.

Mrs. Brown had recently been hospitalized in Sisters Hospital with pneumonia and had been expected to be released soon. But complications set in overnight, resulting in her unexpected death, city officials said.

A native of Manhattan, Mrs. Brown had lived for many years in Queens, where the mayor grew up. She lived in Buffalo for the past three years.

Peter K. Cutler, the mayor's communications director, said Brown and his mother had a "warm and strong relationship." When Brown held a post-inaugural reception in City Hall Dec. 31, his mother was with him in the mayor's office, beaming as she greeted more than 1,000 well-wishers.

During the mayor's childhood, his mother helped make ends meet by working full time in the library at City College of New York. The job required a 90-minute subway commute each way. When Brown was campaigning for mayor, he credited his mother for shaping his core values.

"She taught us the importance of being respectful," Brown said. "She was a stickler for manners, self-respect, respect for others."

On the day he took the oath as Buffalo's first African-American mayor, Brown paid tribute to a special woman.

"Mom, thank you for all of the love and support you have provided me throughout my life," he said.

Mrs. Brown noted in an interview last fall that the values she passed on to her son and daughter were those she had learned from her parents, who were immigrants from the small Caribbean island of Montserrat.

"You know Caribbeans," she said. "They're strict. They keep their children on the straight and narrow."

First Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey said funeral arrangements will be announced soon.

"I request that we all respect the mayor's privacy during this difficult time and remember his mother and family in our prayers," Casey wrote in a prepared statement.

Brown's sister, Andrea Reid, lives in Buffalo. His father, Byron L. Brown, lives in Connecticut.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com and rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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