T. Carroll Brown

Founding partner in the law firm of Brown, Brown & Young was also president of the Harford County Bar Association

March 23, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

T. Carroll Brown, a well-known and respected Harford County lawyer who was a partner in the firm of Brown, Brown & Young, died March 16 from complications of a stroke at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson.

The former longtime Bel Air resident was 93.

Mr. Brown, the son of a lawyer and a homemaker, was born and raised in Havre de Grace.

After graduating in 1934 from Loyola High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1938 from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and served as a lieutenant in the Pacific theater of operations.

After the war, Mr. Brown went to work for Commercial Credit Inc. until, at the suggestion of his father, he enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Law, where he earned his law degree in 1954.

Mr. Brown, who later became a founding partner of what is now Brown, Brown & Young, PA in Bel Air, confined his legal expertise to real estate, zoning and land use, estate planning and administration.

Mr. Brown was well-tailored and was a man of striking patrician good looks who continued to wear his snow white hair carefully parted down the middle.

An inveterate hat-wearer, Mr. Brown still maintained the custom of tipping his hat whenever he met a woman, family members said.

"He was a lawyer's lawyer and a beloved and respected figure in the Harford County legal community," said a nephew, Augustus F. "Gus" Brown, a lawyer who worked side by side with his uncle for several decades, and is a partner in Brown, Brown & Young, PA.

"He was extremely thorough and meticulous in his preparation. No stone was left unturned," his nephew said. "His job was to help keep clients from having to go to court, and my job was to represent them when they had to."

"I remember him as a most gracious gentleman. He always wore his hair parted in the middle and was much a gentleman of the old school. He had an impeccable manner about himself," recalled John D. Worthington IV, publisher of The Aegis, Harford County's weekly newspaper. "His integrity was above reproach. He was truly a great man."

Retired Harford County Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill, a former law partner, worked with Mr. Brown from 1965 to 1974.

"He was an excellent lawyer and mentor and a true gentleman," said Judge Whitfill. "He had a way of instructing you but never making you feel bad. He could take a contract you had written, tear it apart, and make you feel good about it. That's a real skill."

Judge Whitfill said that Mr. Brown was known for putting in long days at the office.

His nephew recalled the first New Year's Eve he was working for his uncle.

"My wife was a nurse at Union Memorial, and she said she wanted to make sure that we would be home by midnight so we would be together in welcoming in the new year," Mr. Brown said.

"My uncle and I were working on a brief and I didn't get home until 2 a.m. My wife didn't speak to me for three days," he said, with a laugh.

"If Carroll had one fault it was not knowing how to say 'No.' No matter what the backlog, he was head over heels to take a new case," he said. "It was his simple interest in human nature that kept people coming through the door."

Mr. Brown had been a secretary, treasurer and two-term president of the Harford County Bar Association. He had been a member of the character committee of the Maryland State Board of Law Examiners for many years, screening applicants for admission to the bar based on their moral character and fitness.

To honor his long legal career and demeanor, the Harford County Bar Association established the T. Carroll Brown Civility Award, which it presents annually to a lawyer who best personifies Mr. Brown's civility.

He was also a longtime active member of the Susquehanna Law Club and had served on the board of First Virginia Bank Central Maryland, which is now part of Branch Banking & Trust Co.

He was a sports fan and an avid sailor. He also was a member of the Maryland Golf and Country Club, where he indulged his passion for golf.

Mr. Brown's legal career ended when he suffered a massive stroke in 2003.

"It was a Friday and he was coming home from work. He was working 50 hours a week and telling people that he was working part time," his nephew said.

Since 2004, he had lived at the Towson retirement community.

"He accepted his limitations and never complained. He was a gentle spirit who just went on with his life," Gus Brown said.

He had been a longtime communicant of St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church in Bel Air, and after moving to Towson, attended Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues, where a memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. today.

Also surviving are two sisters, Harriett R. Brown of Towson and Charlotte B. Harlan of Catonsville; four other nephews; and five nieces.

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