Stephen E. Brown, 69, of Mahomet, IL, passed away at 5:15 p.m., Thursday, July 11, 2019, at his residence.
There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m., on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at The Chapel of Saint John the Divine, 1011 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820. The Rev. Sean Ferrell will officiate. There will be a visitation with family at 1:00 PM, prior to the service.
Stephen was born June 22, 1950 in Dixon, IL, a son of Earl and Lois (Elwood) Brown. He married Carolyn Huber on April 13, 1974 in Galesburg, IL. She survives. Also surviving is a daughter, Catherine (Andrew) Petersen of Davenport, Iowa; two granddaughters, Margaret and Frances Petersen of Davenport, Iowa, his mother, Lois of Eaton, Ohio, and a sister, Carole (Steve) Toothman of Lewisburg, Ohio; three nieces, a nephew, and a goddaughter, Elizabeth Clarkson of Portland, Oregon.
Steve’s career in broadcast communication began at age 16 on air at KROS FM, in Clinton, Iowa. He received his Associate’s degree from Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, IL and then earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Illinois State University in Normal, IL. At Illinois State, he lived in International House and served a one-year teaching appointment after graduation. He taught for five years at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. There he coordinated the broadcast communication program and advised a chapter of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity.
In 1979, Steve joined the faculty at Parkland College in Champaign. He was the director of broadcasting and the general manager of 88.7 WPCD FM, Parkland’s Radio Station. He also began Parkland’s cable and video station, PCTV. In 1985, Steve opted to move to teaching speech and mass communication, which he did for the next 27 years. In 2008, he was named Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, and he was inducted into Parkland’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017 for his years of support of athletics, including the more recent creation of CobraSports on internet radio. Steve served on the board for the School of Communication at Illinois State University, and he was a friend and mentor to many of his former students.
Throughout his life, Steve enjoyed a range of hobbies. As a teen, he was a member of drag racer Arnie Beswick’s crew, and played drums in a rock n’ roll band. Steve enjoyed fishing with his father. He was a ham radio operator, trained storm spotter, private pilot, ground school flight instructor, airshow narrator, Civil War reenactor, historian, and educational speaker.
Steve also had a deep passion for classical music: he sang in the Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church choir for more than 20 years and served on the boards of the Champaign Symphony and the Prairie Ensemble.
Steve was a member of Masonic Lodge 157, Urbana, and the Corvette Club of Illinois. He was a supporter and advocate of BETHS Place until its closing. Steve was a member of The Chapel of Saint John the Divine, where he served as Rector’s Warden.
Steve’s greatest joys were his family and a large orange cat named Yoyo. He loved driving his “girlfriend” Carolyn to Dewey’s Drive-In in Farmer City, having long conversations about teaching and life with his daughter and son-in-law, and watching his granddaughters play. He was never hesitant to tell his family how much he loved them, and did so every chance he had.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Canterbury House Replacement Fund c/o The Chapel of Saint John the Divine, 1011 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820.
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