Richard Brown, an independent lighting representative for nearly 20 years and president of R. Brown & Associates in Georgia, passed away unexpectedly on July 3 from a sudden heart condition. Although he had not been feeling well for several months, Richard attended both the March and June editions of Lightovation. It was after he returned from the June market that he fell critically ill, resulting in an emergency triple by-pass surgery, which he did not survive. Sadly, he had just celebrated his 55th birthday on June 28, while he was in the hospital.
Richard founded his lighting manufacturers’ representative agency – R. Brown & Associates – in 2001 when he was living in Jacksonville, Fla., and later relocated to Georgia in 2008. Over the years, his business grew in size and the number of factories represented, expanding his territory from Northern Florida to Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina and spanning the residential, commercial, industrial, and hospitality industries. Among the manufacturers he represented were Kichler, WAC, Eurofase, Arteriors, AFX, Varaluz, Schonbek, American Lighting, and Hi-Lite Mfg.
His lighting industry peers are devastated by the news. Lizette Winters of the lighting manufacturer AFX, recalls, “The light of the world is dimmer with the loss of my friend and colleague, Richard Brown. Truly a heart that was bigger than his truck, I will miss him terribly. My sadness is overwhelming. Prayers to his wife Melissa, and sons Jacob and Zach.”
Lizette also shared this fond memory which speaks volumes about Richard’s character. “He always paid for others’ dinners at restaurants. When I worked with Richard a couple of months ago, he paid for an elderly couple’s dinner (the man was wearing a Vietnam vet cap), but made sure to tell the server not to tell them who had paid. We sat at the bar and watched their faces as the server told them someone had paid their bill. I looked at Richard, and he just grinned. He did that all the time.”
Adds Lavonne Bylsma, owner of Lighting by Lavonne in Panama City, Fla., “He was one-of-a-kind and will be missed greatly by everyone who knew him! He either always answered his phone or returned your phone call promptly. This young man will always be remembered by his lighting families as the best sales rep anyone could possibly have. Our hearts are broken with the loss of Richard at such a young age. He was a leader and this shows through the growth of his lighting agency. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this time and in the months to follow.”
“Richard and I have been friends for over 30 years,” says John Howard of Agency 51 in South Florida. “I can count on one hand the people I truly know would be there for me if I ever needed them, and Richard was one of those people. He was always the loudest brightest light in the room. He carried a joyous glow that was contagious. I was fortunate to spend almost an hour with him on Friday at Dallas market. I will treasure that time for the rest of my life. My heart and prayers go out to all of Richard’s family, his peers in the industry, his employees, the people at the manufacturers he represented, and his customers. We will all feel the unbelievable loss of his care, friendship and love.”
Please note that since Richard lived in two states primarily, the arrangements are segmented into two areas.
The funeral will be on Friday, July 9, from 12-2pm at McDonald and Son (150 Sawnee Dr) Cumming Georgia.
The burial will be on Monday, July 12, from 1-2 pm Oaklawn cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.
To read the official obituary from the funeral home, visit: https://www.mcdonaldandson.com/obituary/Richard-Brown
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