Aurora officials saddened by death of longtime former service director

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- Former Service Director Charlie Brown had a remarkable knowledge of the city.

"Charlie knew where all the water valves in the city were and what roads needed paving," Fire Chief Dave Barnes said.

City Council member Jim Vaca added, "Charlie knew more than a computer did -- every water line, every sewer line, all the easements."

Mr. Brown, who was in his late 70s, died July 21, 2014. Services are private, and Stroud-Lawrence Funeral Home in Chagrin Falls is handling arrangements.

Mr. Brown grew up in Aurora, where he lived most of his life, and worked for the city for 41 years. He and his wife Mary Ann spent their recent years in Bainbridge. He had two stepsons -- Frederick D. Lindow of Bainbridge Township and Christopher K. Wilber of Chagrin Falls.

The service headquarters is named the Brown-Keidel Service Center in honor of Mr. Brown, who was service director from 1968-1999, and former mayor Ralph Keidel.

A 1953 graduate of Aurora High School, he was inducted into the Aurora Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. He earned four varsity football letters and played on two undefeated Portage County League teams. He also earned four letters in track, four in baseball and three in basketball.

Charlie Becker, who was in charge of the Aurora Water Department and worked for the city for 36 years, said Mr. Brown hired him in 1965. Becker said Mr. Brown worked in the water department before becoming service director.

"He was a great guy," Becker said. "You couldn't ask for a better boss than he was. He knew where everything was. He treated me so great. I can't say enough good things about him. He was stern if you did something wrong, but if you did something right, he always told you so."

VACA SAID Mr. Brown was "a go-getter, a hard worker; he liked to joke with people and he was always smiling."

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said while she did not know Mr. Brown personally, "his years of service are evident in a foundation of success. He contributed much to Aurora, and we are grateful for his dedication."

Barnes said Mr. Brown's father owned a grocery store in the Bowen Block. He said the other half of the building was the late former mayor Ric Mattmuller's pharmacy. "He was a really nice guy," he said.

David Benjamin, former Aurora law director and husband of the mayor, said Mr. Brown was "a great servant of Aurora. He had a real ability to deliver service for residents, and he was very personable."

Service Director John Trew said while he only met Mr. Brown once, "I constantly speak with residents and employees alike who give many accolades to Mr. Brown.

"He was service director, cemetery sexton and utilities director when the city was very young, and he worked closely with engineers, finance directors, Council members and mayors to build the Aurora of today."

After Mr. Brown retired from the city, he worked in the shoe department at Kohl's in Bainbridge Township. "I think he worked there to keep active and to have something to do," Becker said. "He was well known to a lot of people. A lot of people will miss him."

The family requests donations be made to the American Cancer Society.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Facebook: facebook.com/mike.lesko.378

Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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