A. Freeborn Brown III, 83, Harford Co. trial lawyer

July 29, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

A. Freeborn Brown III, a Harford County trial lawyer known for his "gentlemanly" and "old school" manner, died Saturday of cancer at his Bel Air home.

Mr. Brown, 83, practiced full time with the law firm of Brown, Brown and Brown until he was 81. He practiced part time for the last two years.

"He was the dean of the Harford County bar," said his son, Augustus F. Brown IV of Bel Air, who also is a lawyer with the family firm. "He was pure class. Pure, unadulterated class."

The elder Brown lived and breathed the law, according to friends and relatives, having few hobbies or outside interests. He was known statewide for his successes in civil and criminal cases.

A tall, heavyset man with a firm, booming voice, Mr. Brown spoke methodically and with eloquence.

"He was always gracious and gentlemanly," said Bayard "Bob" Hochberg, a fellow attorney and friend for more than 40 years. "He was from the old school. He had a way not only with juries, but with judges, too."

In 1946, Mr. Brown joined the law firm founded by his father 50 years earlier on Main Street in Bel Air. He was elected to the House of Delegates in 1950 and served until 1954. In the 1970s, he was the attorney for the city of Havre de Grace.

"He was always well-prepared and had a good presence," his son said. "He loved the law, it was in his blood. He inherited it."

Mr. Hochberg recalled an injury case the two handled and how, just before closing arguments, Mr. Brown asked him how much they should ask the jury to award in damages.

Mr. Hochberg suggested $35,000, but Mr. Brown scoffed at that amount, believing $50,000 was better. The jury agreed with the $50,000 amount.

"Then he criticized me for using his number, saying it was too low," Mr. Hochberg said. "It was his idea not mine."

A resident of Havre de Grace until he moved to Bel Air in 1984, Mr. Brown graduated from Loyola High School in 1933, attended Loyola College and graduated from the University of Maryland in 1937.

He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1941.

He served in the Army during World War II as a counterintelligence officer stationed in Europe.

He returned to Harford County after his discharge and joined the family law practice.

Mr. Brown enjoyed hunting and over the years acquired a large collection of carved duck decoys.

He was a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Maryland Trial Lawyers Association, American and Maryland bar associations and Harford County Bar Association.

Last year, he was named a "Living Treasure" by Harford County officials.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered noon today at St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church, 141 Hickory Ave. in Bel Air.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, the former Catherine T. Healy, whom he married in 1943; three other sons, J. Patrick Brown of New York, Thomas F. Brown of Dickerson and Michael D. Brown of Vienna, Va.; two daughters, Mary Louise Brown Hullana of Napa, Calif., and Teresa Brown McInerny of Marshville, Mass.; a brother, T. Carroll Brown of Bel Air; two sisters, Harriet R. Brown of Bel Air and Charlotte Brown Harlan of Catonsville; and 12 grandchildren.

Pub Date: 7/29/98

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