Gary Lee Brown passed away peacefully in his sleep on March 23, 2021 following a year-long struggle with cancer. Gary was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on May 26, 1958 to Michele Lee and John Brown.
Passionate singer-songwriter, Gary wrote hundreds of songs over the years. He was fond of jamming with his brother Jack and the other members of Faded Blue, playing some of his own tunes as well as covers. He introduced his siblings to British rock—Gerry Rafferty, Roxy Music, and Pentangle—as well as other quirky bands such as Talking Heads. He loved beachcombing and was at peace scouring the beaches of California for "groovy" rocks. Gary treasured his beloved cat, BP, who regarded Gary's Oldsmobile as "home" while they travelled up and down the West Coast together. He was crazy about classic movies and enjoyed an off-color joke.
A key part of his legacy was teaching the people around him to consider how their reaction to situations could radically change their experience—we don’t necessarily control what happens to us, but we have the power to change our attitudes, which then shapes our experience.
From his earliest days in San Francisco, the “Prince of Haight” was a gregarious free spirit. He was a true child of the new American counterculture. In 1967, at the age of eight, he waved a pot-leaf flag on stage with the Grateful Dead at the iconic Human Be-In. On occasion, Gary's mom would wake up to police knocking at the door of her apartment in the Haight-Ashbury district. They would be returning her young sons after a night at the Avalon Ballroom or the Fillmore, where they had gained admission by talking some adult concertgoers into posing as their parents.
Always concerned about others’ wellbeing and comfort, Gary had a gracious, sentimental and sincere heart. He was always hard-working, but he turned down many managerial positions because he wanted to be everybody's friend—not the boss. One of his all-time favorite jobs was driving an ice cream truck, but it was not a profitable pursuit as he was constantly buying ice cream for children who couldn't afford it. “Gary Guru”—always philosophizing—was a gentle and loving man. He was extremely proud of his children and adored his many nephews, nieces and grandchildren.
Gary was preceded in death by his mother and grandson, Taylor. He is survived by his remarkably strong and caring wife, Lisa Sican—who is glad she waited 50 years for the love of her life—as well as countless family members and friends who loved him and will miss him dearly.
Gary’s wish was to have his remains cremated, a wish his family will honor.
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