Richard “Rick” Albert Brown Jr., a widely-respected attorney and avid motorcyclist, died on Monday, October 16, after a motorcycle accident in Camden County, Georgia. He passed away in Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, later that day.
Rick Brown was born on July 4, 1947, in Washington D.C. to Richard Albert Brown, Sr., and Marianne Burns Brown. He spent much of his childhood in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he worked a paper route on his bicycle and later scooter – perhaps discovering his love of two wheels – and enjoyed life on the water. He was the eldest son of six siblings, and graduated from St. Pius High School in Atlanta, Georgia.
He attended college at Loyola University in New Orleans where he met his future wife, Janet Amelia Smart, a dental hygiene student from Galesburg, Illinois. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1969.
He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia in 1972, where he was a member of the Georgia Law Review and graduated twelfth in his class. Rick had been in ROTC at Loyola University. After law school, he served on active duty in the United States Army Infantry at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he graduated from Officer Candidate School (OCS).
Rick Brown and Janet Amelia Smart married in 1971 in Atlanta. They moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, where they would reside for the next forty-six years. They had two children, which Rick would call, along with his wife, the “joys of his life.” Their daughter, Heather (Rick) Natsch, graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College and received her MBA from the Haas Business School at the University of California-Berkeley. She lives in San Francisco, where she is a successful entrepreneur and the mother of two children. Their son, Taylor Brown, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Georgia and resides in Wilmington, NC. He is the author of four books, two of which have been named “Books All Georgians Should Read” by the Georgia Center for the Book.
In 1977, Rick became a founding partner in Dickey, Whelchel, Brown & Readdick. This highly esteemed firm – now known as Brown, Readdick, Bumgartner, Carter, Strickland & Watkins – still carries his name. Rick served as trial counsel to some of the world’s leading and most-recognized companies, as well as individuals and small businesses, litigating complex and high-stakes cases across Georgia and Florida. Rick tried well over 100 civil cases to jury verdict as well several hundred workers’ compensation and other administrative trials. Rick served as president of the Brunswick Glynn County Bar Association and member of the Southern District Advisory Board. He was ranked AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. Rick was a member of the Georgia Defense Lawyers association, American Association for Justice, Trucking Industry Defense Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Roscoe Pound Institute.
Rick kept up his love of motorcycling. In the fall of 2014, at the age of 67, he rode his motorcycle more than 9000 miles around the United States, visiting family and friends and many of the historic landmarks and national parks of our nation.
Rick retired from the active practice of litigation in December of 2014, but remained of counsel to the firm. He was a certified mediator and served as a senior correspondent for BikeBound.com, becoming a well-respected member of the motorcycle community.
Rick Brown is survived by his wife of 45 years, Janet Brown; his children, Heather (Rick) Natsch of San Francisco, CA, and Taylor Brown of Wilmington, NC; two grandchildren; two brothers, Frank (Terry) Brown of Atlanta and McKenna (Sanford) Brown of Richmond; three sisters, Gloria Kittel of Douglasville, GA, Suzanne Wallace (deceased), and Mary Ann Brown of New Orleans, LA; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Rick Brown was widely known in the community as a man of character and principle, who was a pillar of strength to those who knew him. He died doing what he loved.
The memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 21, at St. William Catholic Church on St. Simons Island, Georgia. The service will be followed by a reception in the Parish Hall of the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Coastal Georgia Honor Flight, Inc., PO Box 20466, St. Simons Island, GA 31522, which transports America’s veterans to Washington, DC, to visit the memorials that honor their service and sacrifice