Auckland rugby league has lost a humble hero with the passing of long-time contributor Bob Brown.
Brown died on August 13 aged 90 and was farewelled three days later just a month after the local game lost another of its stalwarts Steve Brewster.
The affable Brown, whose son Peter played 16 Tests for the Kiwis from 1986-1991, devoted much of his life to rugby league.
Renowned for the work he did championing the Te Atatu Roosters – including service as the club’s chairman – he went on to hold various roles with the Auckland Rugby League including terms as a director on both the ARL and Auckland Warriors boards in the 1990s.
The Roosters posted a tribute on their Facebook page: “A totara is a huge tree that grows for hundreds of years. For one of them to fall is a great tragedy. This proverb is referred to when someone of importance passes away. On behalf of all the Te Atatu Roosters’ whanau both past and present, we would like to send all of our love and support to the Brown whanau Vicki, Peter, Graeme, Suzi and all their tamariki, in the passing of their totara, father, grandfather and great grandfather, Bob.”
In a personal tribute Sir Peter Leitch said: “Bob Brown is a man I personally have enormous respect for. He will be sadly missed by the game and by his loving family. I will certainly miss this wonderful man.”
For many Brown would be readily remembered as a friendly and familiar face at Ericsson Stadium (as it was then) after the original Auckland Warriors burst into life in 1995. For many years from then on he could be found in the West Stand area going about his work unobtrusively as the local liaison man for visiting clubs.
For more than 40 years Brown worked for Air New Zealand, starting in the accounts department with TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited as it was) in 1948 when the company was based in Mechanics Bay. In the 1960s he was based at Whenuapai and was then involved in the move to the current airport at Mangere in 1965.
Brown was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for public service to education and was on school boards for many years as well as helping his late wife Lorraine raise their four children.
The Vodafone Warriors pass on their deepest condolences to the Brown family.