Deceased December 18, 2017
Yoda. Never William. Always “Dave Brown.”
The pride of Warner Robins, Ga. And undeniably, an iconic figure from the class of ’98, died last December.
Dave was one of my first friends here. Along with Al Dallas ’98, he was also the first real-live southerner I ever met. And boy, did he deliver. Evoking all of the positive attributes you’d expect. Charm. Friendliness. Attention to detail. Medium-starched Tommy Hilfiger shirts. An insatiable gift for small talk. And a big smile.
Not to mention, big taste in cars. His trademark red Mustang glug-glugged around campus…the color of his favorite teams…Georgia’s Bulldogs, the Falcons and, of course, his high school…the Warner Robins Red Demons.
Dave was an excitable and passionate storyteller…whose eyes widened as the story swelled to its often unexpected conclusion. He could have charged admission for his stories. I swear to Gawd. Fully engaged. Fully present.
He was of course one of the most gregarious, outgoing and talkative creatures to walk this planet. He made fast friends with everyone he encountered…including my parents, who dubbed him “the governor” for his unique ability to “work a room”—or tailgate party—and make everyone feel special.
Indeed, a statesman he was. Highly intelligent. Ambitious. Dave ran for the student government here. He rose to leadership and advocated on behalf of our class and the greater Amherst community. When the school cut Thanksgiving break in half one year, Dave single-handedly got the administration to change the schedule—no small feat. The Student simply commented: “Dave Brown saved Thanksgiving.” Another illustration of the respect Dave earned at the College.
He carried these gifts of persuasion to D.C., where he worked in Sam Nunn’s office.
He talked often of his family. His Meemaw, who he cared so deeply for. His mom and dad. His brother Dustin. Sister Jinger. Some of us got to know them over the years. Especially when we drove south for break. They hosted us with all the comforts of grits, biscuits and storytelling you’d expect well below the Mason-Dixon. Intangible gifts we’ll always remember.
Dave gave. Gave his time. Gave his support. Gave his friendship.
Post college in 2001, he gave a group of us the Super Bowl in Vegas. As most of us scraped to buy a flight, Dave’s business success landed us a suite at Caesers. We were on top of the world. All expenses paid. No questions asked. The Patriots won. And Dave gave us a fabulous memory.
Investment banking took him to the biggest cities in the world. But ultimately, he was drawn home, to Warner Robins, where his family was.
At Amherst, Dave lived in Valentine, Crossett (x2) and Tyler. In those places we talked about religion, sports, politics and music. And the war of northern aggression. We pledged a fraternity. We smoked and drank and laughed together late into the night. And saw the sun come up on more than one occasion.
Amherst is the Singing College. But Dave couldn’t sing for beans. It’s the College on the Hill. But boy did he loathe these hills. He’d prefer to drive to Valentine in his red Mustang rather than make the walk.
But if there’s one quality of Dave’s that best captures the ideals of this place, it’s that he gave himself to others. Quite simply…Dave. Gave.
And as is so often the case, life happens, and we fell out of touch. But I am deeply grateful for his brief but meaningful presence in my life. He was an all-around exceptional guy, and I am a better person for knowing him. His passing has made me think differently about loyalty, commitment and the responsibilities of friendship. His loss yields yet another gift.
Godspeed, Dave. We miss you.
Shaun Quigley ’98