Share this article

print logo

Clarice Brown, mayor's mother, guiding influence Feb. 14, 1927 -- March 31, 2006

Clarice Brown, the mother of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, died early Friday in Sisters Hospital. She was 79.

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

Services will be held Wednesday in Queens. Services in Buffalo are being planned for late next week.

A native of Manhattan, the former Clarice Kirnon 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 the mayor held a post-inaugural reception in City Hall on 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, Mrs. Brown 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 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."

Mrs. Brown worked for the City College of New York from 1958 through 1988, when she retired.

She was a member of Hollis Presbyterian Church and its choir and DC 37, the New York public employees union.

Survivors in addition to her son include a daughter, Andrea Brown-Reid of Buffalo; and three grandchildren.

The mayor's father, Byron L. Brown, lives in Connecticut.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Hollis Presbyterian Church, corner of 196th Street at 104th Avenue, Queens. Burial will be Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla.

-- Brian Meyer and Robert J. McCarthy

There are no comments - be the first to comment