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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Condolence Booklet

Sandy & Chuck Walker
   Posted Tue March 16, 2021
Anne, Savannah & Luna, Dawson & Ali, and Sierra and other family members,
We are so very sorry to just learn of Lauren passing away.
Please know that at this time of sorrow we are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers and if we can be of any help please let us know.
May the memories made with Lauren and your families help to esse your pain and loss at this time.

Andrea Allen
   Posted Wed March 17, 2021
Anne and family,
I am so sorry for your loss and send my most sincere sympathy to each of you. The education, science, and research communities have suffered a great loss as well. The legacy left behind by Dr. Brown will be timeless. I am thinking of each of you and praying for comfort and strength.

Scott Sakaluk and Anne Eggert
   Posted Wed March 17, 2021
Dear Jill, Nell, Kara, and Evan:
We wereshocked and saddened to learn of Lauren's passing. He led such an active life up until he was admitted to the hospital, that it is difficult to process, more so for you I'm quite certain. I still remember that when I interviewed for the job here, some 34 years ago, I sat on that ancient weathered old couch in Lauren's office during my office meeting with him. From that time on, he was a kind and generous colleague. I think Lauren was a great role model for how to live a very fulfilling life. He continued to come in on a regular basis, truly loved the science that he continued to pursue, and thoroughly enjoyed his family life and all the grandkids. I have also not forgotten that Nell was a student in my Animal Behavior course in my early years here - a straight A student as I recall.

Please accept our deepest condolences on your loss. We and many others in the department who knew Lauren hold you in our thoughts.

Scott and Anne

Charles and Karen Thompson
   Posted Wed March 17, 2021

Karen and I were saddened to learn of Lauren's passing and extend to you and your family our sincerest sympathies. I much admired Lauren's devotion to scholarship and his interest in supporting the biology department. His successful campaign to create the brass plaque in Felmley Hall of Science commemorating early ISU biologists and his co-founding of a student publication endowment fund are a testament to his commitment to Illinois State University and its students, and are part of his legacy to the department and university.

J. Gordon and Sandra Bidner
   Posted Sun March 21, 2021
Jill and Family--I was surprised to read in The Pantagraph this morning about the passing of Lauren on Oct. 10th. This pandemic has prevented us from meeting in person and because the GJB SAR Chapter has been meeting via zoom we haven't connected for over one year. Lauren became a SAR Member on June 6, 2006 and yes was very interested in genealogy and his families lineage. I hope that your memories will ease the pain of losing Lauren as he is remembered by his family and friends. Yes, Lauren had a distinguished career and made a difference in the students he mentored and taught.
In Christ's Love, Sandra and Gordon Bidner, President of the General Joseph Bartholomew Sons of the American Revolution

Donald Wallen
   Posted Mon March 22, 2021
My condolences to the Brown family. Lauren was a great person that I was fortunate to have crossed paths with during my time at Felmley Hall.

Cheryl Hickey
   Posted Mon March 22, 2021
Dear Jill and Family, Please accept our deepest sympathy in the loss of Lauren. He was one of my favorite professors to work for. He always showed his appreciation for the many items that I typed for him and was always quick to thank me. He was an interesting man to listen to, and told great stories. He will be missed by many. Cheryl & John Hickey

Roger and Becky Anderson
   Posted Mon March 22, 2021
Dear Jill, Nell, Anne and Evan,

Please accept our condolences on Loreen’s death. When we moved to town in summer 1976, you welcomed us with a potluck party and began our long association. When we moved from a rental house to our purchased home Loren generously helped move a lot of our furniture in his truck, in January 1977 when it was -20 degrees. Both of us benefited from his unique skills and his interest in the biology department. Roger worked with him on three research projects at Sand Prairie Scrub Oak Nature Preserve, that all produced publications. Becky was in the Evolution class when he lectured about speciation and animal vocalizations. His contribution to the department and congeniality with faculty and students were appreciated and valuable. He will be missed.

Roger and Becky Anderson

Rebecca Anderson
   Posted Mon March 22, 2021
Jill, I'm sorry, I am embarrassed that I spelled Lauren's name wrong. I hope it does not distress you too much. I apologize profusely. Don't blame Roger for my error, I typed it.
Sincerely, Becky Anderson

Jeff Ridinger
   Posted Tue March 23, 2021
It was an honor and a privilege to provide Dr. Brown with library materials for the past 16 years. I always enjoyed his visits to the desk, and the stories he would share.

Linda Thomas
   Posted Tue March 23, 2021
Please accept my sympathy on Dr. Brown's passing. I was a secretary in the Chemisty Department at ISU in the 70s and 80s and would see him in the hall or perhaps near the xerox machine; he was always friendly and smiling. Know you will miss that smile.

Sorry for your loss.


Stephen Brown
   Posted Thu March 25, 2021
Jill and family,
Please accept my family's and my condolences.
As my older male cousin, I looked up to Lauren growing up. He had an especially profound influence on me when I was a student. His encouragement and role modeling inspired me to earn a PhD in a totally unrelated discipline to his and become a chaired professor at Arizona State University.
My memories of Lauren will always be fond and appreciative.
Steve Brown

William Brown
   Posted Thu April 08, 2021
To Jill and the children of Lauren Brown, with the deep sadness that I feel learning of the loss of your husband and father. I knew Lauren since 1964 when, along with Bill Birkhead and Max Nickerson, the four of us took a short field trip to the east coast of Mexico. Later, at the University of Texas at Austin, where Lauren was a Ph.D. student and I was a beginning master's student, we roomed together during the year 1966-1967, and of course I got to know Lauren quite well at that time. Later, on a trip across the country (maybe in the 1970s), I visited him and Jill at their home and learned of Lauren's great interest in starting an apple orchard. Being an outstanding bibliophile, he produced an original "Apples of New York State" a classic in the field. Still later, when Lauren had an interest in collecting old snake-oil bottles, I went on a search for him to a bottle show in Ballston Spa, New York, near my residence. I managed to acquire a genuine snake-oil bottle for him, and I think he was thrilled! I am so saddened by his loss, and wish all the best to your family. Sincerely, Bill Brown

Sue and Ron Williams
   Posted Thu April 15, 2021
Dear family: We are so sorry to hear of the passing of your husband and father. You must be proud of his many fine accomplishments as a scholar, farmer, and family man. We know Nellie has inherited his interests and talents. Our sympathies are with you. Sue and Ron Williams, Ethical Society of St. Louis

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