Topic A Remembers Former Lakewood Mayor and “Father of the New Jersey Lotto”
Topic A with Bob Levy devotes an hour to remember former Lakewood mayor, assemblyman, and the state senator regarded as the “father of the New Lottery”, John F. Brown who passed away earlier this month.
Levy was joined on air by fellow friends of Brown, former Senator John Russo and former Ocean County Republican Chairman Joe Buckelew, who recounted not only Brown’s long list of accomplishments in politics but also personal anecdotes from a lifetime of friendship.
The three men, all of whom knew Brown both professionally and personally, recounted the positive effect Lakewood’s favorite son had on them. John Russo, who went on to replace Brown after he stepped down from the Senate, recounts some of his experiences with Brown, saying simply “This was a fine man.”
The trio were around for Brown’s prolific political career which saw the Republican never lose a single election; however Buckelew, Russo, and especially Levy focused heavily on the personal friendship they shared.
Levy’s stories of Brown tell of a man described as “good looking ” who “found humor in everything”. He describe one of the best features of Brown was that he was one of the most charming men he ever knew.
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Born and raised in Lakewood, John F. Brown attended Lakewood High School and later Rider University, where he was a standout basketball player.
He went onto serve the town as the Lakewood mayor and committee man in 1961, earning recognition from the State Freeholders Association, which chose him as the 1969 Legislator of the Year, citing his “outstanding services and leadership to New Jersey County Government.” Brown’s ascent in politics had him elected to state assembly in 1965 before finally making it to the state senate in 1971. The Republican has the distinction of never losing an election, only finally stepping down of his own desire to pursue other interests and business until 1981 when he retired to Southern Florida.
One of Brown’s most significant achievements while in senate was his support of legislation that went onto create the New Jersey and build the framework for casino gambling in the state.
A memorial service will be held in Lakewood at the D’Elia Funeral Home in Lakewood Sunday the 27th from 2 to 4 pm.