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COLDWATER, Mich. (Jan. 10, 2022) - The City of Coldwater mourns the loss and honors the life of Dr. Robert W. Browne who passed away on Saturday, January 8, 2022. Graduating in 1942 from Coldwater High School, Dr. Browne served his country as a pilot during WWII before going on and continuing his education at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He later became an orthodontist, a successful businessman, and philanthropist. As the largest benefactor in Coldwater’s history, Dr. Browne’s contributions to the community include constructing the Henry L. Brown Municipal Building and a $14 million dollar gift to expand the recreational facilities within the City.
“Dr. Browne and his wife, Lynn’s, tremendous generosity has made a mark on our community today and for generations to come,” said Mayor Thomas Kramer. “His early life in Coldwater shaped the person he became and he constantly exhibited the lifelong values of tradition, humility, and education developed here. We were honored then and grateful now that he chose to improve the quality of life in his childhood community with such generosity.”
In 1996, Dr. and Mrs. Browne donated more than $1 million to the Coldwater United Methodist Church to completely remodel the building in memory of Dr. Browne’s grandmother, Muriel Brown. It was one of the first and major donations that Dr. Browne gave to the Coldwater community. At its dedication, he said, “In her will, my grandmother requested that, if her estate had the money, we buy robes for the choir. Her estate did not, but I always remembered her request and hoped one day to honor her memory and her devotion to the church.”
In 2002, Dr. Browne honored his grandfather with a $6 million gift to the City of Coldwater, constructing the Henry L. Brown Municipal Building. In explaining his passion for this project, Dr. Browne said, “During my critical impressionable and formative years, my grandfather’s conduct, work ethic, integrity, loyalty and demeanor were a lesson to me. This memorial has provided me an opportunity to express my gratitude.”
Then, in 2015, Dr. and Mrs. Browne made their largest donation to Coldwater, creating the Dr. Robert W. Browne Aquatic Center and Recreational Center. Dr. Browne never forgot the people and community that raised him and credited Coldwater with shaping the person he became. In dedicating the Aquatic Center and Recreational Center to his Coldwater High School class of 1942 classmates, Dr. Browne said, “Gratitude knows no bias. It only seeks to return a kindness that someone chose to bestow on another.”
“Our community, and the many organizations the Browne’s have supported throughout their lives, are much improved as a result of their kindness and benevolence. Our thoughts are with the Browne family and we hope they know how much he meant to the City of Coldwater,” said Mayor Thomas Kramer.