Who was Tom Brown??

Dear Dad,

I find myself at a loss for words, struggling to put into writing the immense love and admiration I hold for you. You were not just a father to me; you were a guiding light, a source of inspiration, and a role model in every sense of the word.

You were, depending on who you asked, a multifaceted individual, but one thing was consistent: your unwavering compassion, intelligence, kindness, and incredible spirit. Whether it was the meticulous design of cutting-edge electronics or patiently teaching me to throw a ball, you exemplified the pursuit of perfection in everything you did.

You instilled in us a powerful lesson: to do something right or don’t do it at all. You never settled for mediocrity, and you never allowed me to either. “If I told you once or I told you a million times, don’t exaggerate,” you would say, a phrase etched into my memory, a reminder to always take pride in our accomplishments without embellishment. That invaluable lesson has been a guiding principle throughout my life.

So, who were you, Dad? First and foremost, you were a “sound guy,” a true maestro of audio. Your passion was to ensure that people heard music as it was meant to be heard, whether it was in a recording studio, an outdoor festival, or a school event. I still remember one of my earliest memories, sitting beside you in a Nashville studio, my childlike curiosity driving me to touch every knob and button. You showed me a room filled with wonders, and for a brief moment, you let me be alone in there. At the age of four or five, I discovered a reel of tape and, in my innocence, unraveled it. That mishap taught me an invaluable lesson about life’s little surprises.

Your journey from engineering at WVIZ-TV channel 25 in Cleveland to becoming a top engineer in Nashville, and your pivotal role in designing MacDonald Recording studio in Seattle, the first all-digital studio, were nothing short of remarkable. Your contributions to countless other studios and theaters remain a testament to your expertise and dedication.

But you were more than just a sound engineer; you were a magician who transformed outdoor concerts into intimate experiences. The challenge excited you, the idea of immersing people in music amidst noisy distractions. I remember our first outdoor concert together, a Poison gig. I’d try to edge closer to the speakers until you chased me away, fearing for my young ears. Eventually, I learned that the real magic happened behind the speakers. I’d watch in awe, undetected, and even had the privilege of meeting bands as they left the stage.

One memory stands out vividly—sneaking backstage at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and encountering BB King. I expected trouble, but he surprised me with a warm embrace and asked about my experience. His tenor sax player let me hold his saxophone. In that moment, my love for music blossomed, thanks to your passion and the world you introduced me to.

Yet, your talents extended far beyond sound engineering. You delved into software development, a realm I knew little about. I resented those hours you spent writing code, but your brilliance shone through. You created programs for traffic signals, compiled a database of missing persons used by law enforcement, and pioneered electronic medical records software like AllScripts. You even founded your own company, captivating the nation with your ability to make software do the impossible.

Dad, your legacy is not just in your achievements but in the way you inspired those around you, including me. Your dedication, your pursuit of excellence, and your boundless love have left an indelible mark on my heart. You were not just my father; you were my hero. As I mourn your loss, I will carry your wisdom, your love, and your spirit with me always.

Love Always,
Please share using the links below if you know anybody that may have additional stories or experiences that they would be willing to share.

3 Responses

  1. Tom was my friend. We shared the stuff friends share. He taught me about shrimping the Hood Canal and boy, did we catch shrimp! We caught so many shrimp, sometimes I felt like Gump. He was sound’s friend too. He had that gift. It was as if the sound waves talked to him about their problems and he helped solve them, like a good friend would. I miss him. RIP Tom.

  2. Tom Brown: wonderful human being. Diligent sound engineer. So talented and skilled. Always full of funny stories and quippy comments. Such a good person, a true friend who offered wise suggestions to a dilemma, comfort in times of need and a brilliant smile always. Thank you for being, Tom. We will remember you always. It is bittersweet, I know you are in a better place now, but you are missed.

    I realize this is a place for stories, I’ll have some to share later. But I am sharing a song from the album Tom and I made together, as well as the website.

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