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- Kelly Ann Brown
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- 826 Valencia
- The Los Angeles Maritime Institute/Topsail
- Center for Justice and Accountability
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All the things that truly matter: love, kindness, creativity, beauty, joy.
Meet Kelly Ann Brown
When a loved one passes from this earth, it is common to have a dedication in loving memory of that person. We could say the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation “was done in loving memory of Kelly,” but it was not so much “done” as always here whispering to us. It seemed to rise organically from the ashes of our grief. As we work to do good in her name, Kelly’s presence can be felt by each of us on the foundation. Her brother David expresses it best: “It’s amazing to me, even more so than when she was here, we are with each other. She’s experiencing what I am doing. It’s really powerful stuff.” Our close friend Esther Patrick echoed this sentiment: “Look how powerful Kelly is, that she can create in this world.” Our intention is to give creatively with joy and love.
We want to tell you a bit about Kelly, as we knew her in this world. Kelly Ann Brown was born November 10, 1965, in Washington, D.C. She was raised in Los Angeles and graduated from Eagle Rock High School. Kelly was intelligent, gracious, cultured and beautiful. It was often remarked that she resembled a young Elizabeth Taylor. When Kelly was 19 she was stopped on the streets of New York by Francis Ford Coppola, with the promise he could “make her a star.” Kelly cherished art and beauty, both man-made and natural, and she loved her family and friends wholeheartedly. Her network of friends was extensive and close-knit, with many involved in Rainbow, Job’s Daughters and DeMolay. In her later years, Kelly’s talent for strong and committed friendships never wavered. Throughout her life Kelly made many people feel as though he or she was her “best friend.”
Kelly attended Santa Monica College and Loyola Marymount University. She worked as a political consultant for ballot initiative campaigns for a Santa Monica company for twenty years.
One initiative led to the passage of an Arizona law establishing a state holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
Kelly had a lifelong interest in art history, her bookshelf lined with the works of the masters. Among her favorites was impressionist painter Mary Cassatt. Like Cassatt, who often created images emphasizing the intimate bonds between mothers and children, Kelly loved children and they in turn adored her.
Kelly could be remembered as an accomplished athlete; she was
a fast swimmer, a black diamond skier and skilled horseback rider. She could be remembered as a great cook; she excelled in the kitchen, pulling from extensive lists of recipes that filled various large black binders. She often held dinner parties, effortlessly combining her slicing and dicing with laughter and friendship.
But of all Kelly’s talents and accomplishments, she will be most remembered for her ability to bring out the best in those around her through kindness and compassion.
Few of us know what it feels like to be an outsider—we have attentive family, friends, colleagues. Robert, however, knew it well. He grew up Latino in a time and a community that was predominantly white. He began his career in the Department of Corrections as a corrections officer, where race distinction still existed. He didn’t want to spend time outside work with his coworkers and even as he met people through his beloved wife Julia, he continued to feel like an outsider. He didn’t understand the jokes or references, and found himself smiling politely and wanting to leave. Of all Julia’s friends, Kelly was the one able to see past the smile and shoulders wide as a linebacker’s and see someone who felt small and excluded. Kelly, looking as if she’d just walked out of the latest Vogue, approached Robert and gave him his first glimpse into the unassuming empathy she used to put herself in everyone’s place: “I know it feels like you’ll never fit in—all these women laughing and hugging—but you’re already part of the group.” Kelly, through a smile and a moment’s kindness, made someone who only moments ago was a complete stranger, feel welcome and accepted. Those of us who knew Kelly understand that this is just a snap-shot of her infinite kindness. Kelly had a knack for seeking all of us out in a moment of need and making things feel right.
The mission of the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation is to continue to extend this kindness to outsiders, those who have been alienated because of their gender, race, sexual orientation, economic status or politics. Kelly was always alert to those whom others ignored. The foundation will be her new voice and eyes.
Kelly’s generosity of her time and talents, possessions and spirit, and her absolute love and limitless forgiveness remains forever woven through our hearts and minds.
Kelly, thank you for blessing our lives. We wish you absolute bliss.