Deceased December 14, 2017
We mourn the passing of our classmate and friend Brown (“Brownie”) Leach, who died Dec. 14, 2017, from complications of heart disease. Brown and I became friends on a fall afternoon freshman year, just walking and talking. The walk was a long one and the talk was wide-ranging. Brown was a master of talk. That day he talked about Milton, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, horseracing and the South.
Al Powers ’66, an annual visitor to England for decades who knows a thing or two about walking and talking, says no memory of England is more vivid for him than walking the grounds of Ben Jonson’s Penshurst with Brown and his first wife, Pru, just talking.
Brown graduated from Louisville Country Day School. After Amherst, he obtained an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. He taught at universities in the United States and China, where he met and fell in love with Swallow Liu. Forbidden by local authorities to marry, they fled China and settled in the United States. Swallow has described Brown as “a man of faith and noble heart, a true intellectual with superb taste” but one who “did not fit the world.”
Brown liked the gospel quartet the Mighty Clouds of Joy. This stanza from their song “Walk Around Heaven” seems a fitting epitaph.
One of these mornings won’t be very long
You will look for me and I’ll be gone
I’m going to a place where I’ll have nothing, nothing to do
But just walk around, walk around heaven all day
The angels are in for a treat: to walk around heaven all day with Brown, just listening to him talk.
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Swallow Liu Leach, and a son, Edward Miller.
Robert Hornick ’66