Rodney M. Brown of Farmington Hills passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on Oct. 12. He was 51.

Brown started working at the Shirt Box, now in Farmington Hills, when he was 16. The store was founded by Ron Elkus in 1981; the two soon developed a close friendship. After college, Brown practiced law for 13 years before calling Elkus and asking him if he wanted a business partner.

Brown loved interacting with people, which was reciprocated by almost every person who walked into the store or into his life. He was funny, energetic and a magnet for friendships. The word used most often to describe Brown was “mensch.” He possessed a kindness that was intrinsic to who he was. And he touched many lives because of it.

His business partner, Ron Elkus, called him his “partner, mentor, the man who made me smile. He was the best man. … I truly believe this man had the biggest heart of anyone I knew.”

Son Andrew called him a “ray of light.”

Even his children’s friends posted tributes to Brown on Facebook. Jeremy Taigman wrote, “He made me laugh till I cried every time I was with him. You touched the lives of everyone who knew you.”

The family of Rodney M. Brown will be gathering through the evening of Thursday, Oct. 18, at the residence, 30575 Knighton Dr, Farmington Hills MI 48331.

Look for a full obituary in the Oct. 25 issue of the JN.