Dr. Lauren E. Brown

Born: Mon., Sep. 4, 1939
Died: Wed., Mar. 10, 2021


Celebration of Life to be held at a later date


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Dr. Lauren Evans Brown, age 81, of rural Hudson, IL passed away at his daughter’s home near Pittsfield, IL on Thursday, March 10, 2021 due to complications from recent medical procedures. He was born on September 4, 1939 in Waukesha, Wisconsin to Julieanne Evelyn (Klatt) and Winston Deever Brown. He married Jill Rae Hollingshead on February 21, 1968 in Bloomington, IL and they raised three children on their farm north of Hudson, Illinois.

After graduating from Carroll College in Waukesha Wisconsin in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, Lauren completed his Master’s degree in zoology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois in 1963, and later his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Texas at Austin in 1967. He completed his Post Doctorate at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 1968. Lauren had a long and illustrious career as a professor of vertebrate zoology at Illinois State University from 1967 until his retirement in 2002. He continued research and mentoring for ISU as Professor Emeritus, Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles, and adjunct professor of vertebrate zoology until his death.

Lauren was renowned for his research, primarily in the study of reptiles and amphibians, having amassed nearly 200 publications during his long and productive career, some of which were with his wife and later, his son. He was the recipient of 54 research grants and contracts and was also a member of 51 graduate student thesis and dissertation committees, being the major professor for three Ph.D’s and 27 Master’s students. He took great joy in guiding the work of his graduate students, many of which also have become renowned scientists and researchers. One of his many research interests included rare and endangered animals, including essential work on the Houston toad (discovering that it wasn’t extinct and serving on the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Houston Toad Recovery Teams) the Illinois Mud Turtle and the Illinois Chorus Frog. He instructed many students in zoology and comparative vertebrate anatomy who went on to renowned careers as medical doctors and veterinarians. Highly regarded by his peers, Dr. Brown was the Managing Editor of Herpetologica and Corresponding Editor of ALYTES, followed by membership on two editorial boards. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of The Herpetologists’ League, Conservation Committee of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Council of Biology Editors, and Board of Councilors of the International Society for the Study and Conservation of Amphibians, in addition to many boards and committees at Illinois State University.

Lauren had several notable affiliations and honors, as Associate of Zoology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, as a Research affiliate at the Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinois, as a 2019 recipient of the Illinois State University College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, and as the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement from Carroll University.

Later in life, Lauren took a great interest in genealogy and was able to apply his research abilities to investigate and document his family’s lineage. Lauren also took great joy in working on his farm, planting trees, raising livestock, and experiencing the peaceful beauty of the property. Lauren is survived by his wife, his three children, Lara Nell Brown, Elsberry, Missouri, Kara Anne Nash, Pittsfield, Illinois, and Evan (Lisa) Brown, Downers Grove, Illinois; grand-children Savannah Schipper, Pittsfield, Illinois, Dawson (Ali) Nash, Frederick, MD, Sierra Nash, Pittsfield, Illinois, and Erin Brown, Downers Grove, Illinois; his great-grandchild, Luna Schipper, Pittsfield, Illinois; his brother Winston (Carol) Brown, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin; his nephews Matthew Brown, and Andrew Brown; and his nieces Rebecca Scott Finlayson, and Heather Ann Finlayson.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a younger sister, Barbara Ann Finlayson.

Private burial arrangements have been made by the immediate family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to ISU Foundation for the School of Biological Sciences Fund (in memo, please write ‘in memory of Dr. Lauren Brown’), to be utilized for Cheung, Brown, Phi Sigma Award for Student Publications or Zoology Department; donations may be mailed to ISU Foundation, Campus Box 8000, Normal, IL  61761. Online condolences may be left to the family at www.nieburfh.com. Niebur Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

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