Cover photo for Donald R. Browne's Obituary
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Donald R. Browne

March 13, 1934 — October 7, 2023

Golden Valley

Donald R. Browne

Donald R. Browne Phd. age 89 of Golden Valley on Oct. 7, 2023.  Donald had a teaching career spanning 50 years as a Professor of Speech and Communications at Boston University, Purdue University and eventually, retiring as Professor Emeritus from the University of Minnesota where he also served as the department chair.

His life-long enthusiasm for learning started with his parents' encouragement.  His father Herb Browne loved nothing better than to mix up some drinks and take guests out back to the garden where a young "Donnie" would identify various plants using their unique Latin name.  Don graduated as valedictorian from Alpena High School in 1951, where he also excelled in debate and tromboning with summer trips to Interlochen Band Camp.  Don then moved on to the University of Michigan where he was a proud member of the U of M Marching Band and Sigma Alpha Epsilon; graduating with a BA in 1955.  He left Michigan for a 2 year stint in the service with the 7th Army Orchestra in Europe.  He then returned back to Ann Arbor to get his Masters in 1958 and PhD in 1961.

His early career in communications began in the early 1960s as a foreign correspondent with Voice of America and a foreign service officer in the United States Information Agency stationed in Tunisia and Guinea.  He then went back to the States and landed at Boston University in 1963 where his life's work as a professional educator, academic coach and true lover of higher learning continued until the 2010s.  It was a journey that Mary Jo and all 3 kids were a part of - including Don's year abroad in 1973-74 as a Fulbright lecturer at the American University of Beirut.  The young family of 5 all traveled with him for that unique year-long journey across Europe and the Middle East.

However, Don's favorite lecture hall was the dining room at 4135 Leber Lane.  He loved nothing better than having dinner parties with close friends, fine wine and open debate on the topics of the day.  Don also loved to host the friends of his 3 children for dinner and question them on their college choices, where their career was taking them professionally and what travels they had planned.  He of course was willing to give tips to places like a great restaurant outside Stockholm, a pub in Manchester or an interesting museum in Moscow.

Don's favorite activities were his continued love of the Trombone that had him playing with the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis for 40 years and being long-time season ticket holders for the Minnesota Orchestra.  He was also a lector and usher at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral and also made sure the family attended Gopher football, basketball and hockey games every season.  Don always wanted to take the family to the old Dinkytown Vescio's before or after the game. Don also found unexpected joy in the 2 collies that joined the house for a 25 year span.  Not a dog guy, he found them to be his intellectual equal and also exposed his soft-side that loved to join him for hours of yard work and pancakes on Sundays.

Don will be deeply missed by his beloved wife of 65 years, Mary Jo (née Rowell); his sons and daughters-in-law, Stuart and Mun-Hyon, Steven and Paige; his grandchildren, Kim and Marshall Browne, Isabel, Dashiell, and Eleni Jo Browne.

Donald is preceded in death by daughter, Mary Kathleen “Kathy” Browne; his parents, Etta and Herbert Browne; brother, James Browne.

A memorial service will be held in June 2024.

Memorials in his memory are preferred to the Kathy Browne Memorial Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship Fund (Donor ID: 935-107179); c/o Advancement Services; Saint John's University; PO Box 7222; Collegeville, MN  56321.  To donate directly please click here .  When making Fund designation please click "Other" and enter "Kathy Browne Scholarship Fund" in the Other Designation Preference box so your donation can be directed correctly.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald R. Browne, please visit our flower store.


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