Clarence J. Brown, Jr., a nine-term Republican congressman from Ohio who was highly influential in U.S. energy and economic policy, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on the evening of January 26, 2022 in Urbana, Ohio. He was 94.
Known to all as “Bud,” Brown also ran for governor of Ohio and, after losing that race, served as deputy secretary and acting secretary of the Department of Commerce under President Reagan.
Bud Brown helped shape major new laws passed in response to the national energy crisis in the 1970s as the ranking Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Power Subcommittee (of what was then the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee and is now the Energy and Commerce Committee).
Brown represented the Seventh Congressional District of Ohio as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives for 17 years, from 1965 to 1983. He was first elected in a special election to succeed his father, Clarence J Brown, Sr., who had represented the district for 27 years, from 1938 to 1965. The younger Brown was known for his constituent service and spent nearly every weekend in his congressional district, taking to heart his constituents’ needs.
He briefly served as acting secretary of Commerce following the untimely death in a horseback riding accident of Secretary Malcolm Baldridge. In his deputy secretary role, Brown served as the chief operating officer for the department.
Later, Brown served as president and chief executive officer of the United States Capitol Historical Society from 1992 to 1999.
Prior to his election to Congress, Brown worked as a journalist in his family’s business, Brown Publishing Company — which included the Washington C.H. Record-Herald — which had been founded by his father. Following his father’s death, the younger Brown served as president of the company from 1965-1976 and chairman of the board from 1976-2002.
Bud Brown’s parents were Ethel McKinney Brown and longtime Congressman and Publisher Clarence Brown (1893-1965), who was born in Blanchester. Clarence Brown Sr. went to Blanchester public schools, then law school at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
Clarence Brown Sr. began his newspaper career in Blanchester in 1917 and was president of the Brown Publishing Company in Blanchester the rest of his life.
Brown was born in Columbus, Ohio, June 18, 1927; graduated from Western High School in Washington, D.C., 1944; earned a B.A. from Duke University, 1947, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, 1949; served in the United States Navy, 1944-1946 (V-12 Program) and 1950-1953 (Korean conflict).
Bud and Joyce had four children. The oldest, Beth, died in 1964 at age seven after a three-year battle with leukemia.
Bud Brown is survived by his wife, Joyce Eldridge Brown; children, Clarence J. “Clancy” (Jeanne Johnson-Brown) Brown III, Catherine “Cate” Brown Brinnon and Roy Eldridge (Christine Nazarovech) Brown; grandchildren, Rose Beth Johnson-Brown, James Ransom Johnson-Brown, Clark Evan Brinnon II, Camille Anderson Brinnon, and John Henry “Jack” Brown; family friends Turan and Bridget Tombul; and former staffer Virginia “Ginny” Gano and many other former staff members known as “the Brownies.”
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions in Bud Brown’s name may be made to the BrownRidge Foundation, which provides assistance to benefit small communities, at 430 Scioto St., Urbana, OH 43078-0071.