Dr. Brown and his wife, Kathleen, (center) surrounded by their children, grandchildren and other family members.
Dr. Brown and his wife, Kathleen, (center) surrounded by their children, grandchildren and other family members. (Courtesy of Kathleen Brown)

Dr. Richard Brown, who is celebrating 60 years as an inner-city physician, commemorated the milestone with his family on a bus tour of his lifelong personal, professional and Jewish journeys.

A journey of his lifetime took place in Detroit on Aug. 6.

Dr. Richard Brown, who is celebrating 60 years as an inner-city physician, commemorated the milestone with his family on a bus tour of his lifelong personal, professional and Jewish journeys. 

The tour had members of three generations of Brown’s family take part, including his children and grandchildren. It was his wife, Kathleen Brown, who organized the bus tour with a driver, tour guide and all.

“The idea was to see where I lived, how I grew up, where my children were born and lived, where I worked and the synagogues that I belonged to and went to as a kid,” Dr. Brown said. 

Brown grew up in Detroit, and after going to osteopathic college in Iowa, returned to Detroit and had training in the inner city starting in 1960.

Sixty years later, Brown’s medical organization, Park Medical Centers, has multiple clinics in Detroit and surrounding areas. Most of them are in the city, with others in Livonia, Wixom, Canton, Roseville and the original building in Lincoln Park. Brown has practiced at the same clinic in Detroit for 25 years.

For Brown, showing his family real snapshots of his personal, professional and religious life as the tour bus traveled from location to location was a special treat. The trip served as a filling-in-the-blanks exercise for many of his family members, who had only heard about his upbringing through words and photos. 

“It meant a lot that they were interested,” Brown said. “I think they appreciated it.”

Dr. Richad Brown displays the city of Detroit flag he was given,
Dr. Richad Brown displays the city of Detroit flag he was given,
On the Tour

On the trip, Brown was given a flag of the city of Detroit by the tour guide. Brown asked his wife to take a picture of him holding up the flag and to send it to a friend of 25 years: Mike Duggan, mayor of Detroit. 

“We’re really good friends,” Brown said. “He ran the Detroit Medical Center, and we communicate frequently.” 

Then, the bus tour had an event planned by Kathleen, unbeknownst to Dr. Brown.

“I said OK, I’ll send Mayor Duggan the picture, but little did he know this was the surprise of the day,” Kathleen Brown said. “I then said to Richard, ‘You asked me to deliver the picture of you with the flag to Mike Duggan. I’ll do better than that, I’ll deliver you to him.’”

The next stop was Brown’s office, where a car waiting for them contained Mayor Duggan, who then came out of the car to surprise a shocked but elated Dr. Brown.

The surprise was a successful one, and Duggan exchanged pleasantries with Brown and the different generations of his family to make it that much more of a special day.

Even at his age and 60 years into the profession, Brown says he’s busier than he’s ever been, and the passion for taking care of others is still there. 

“I love helping them,” Brown said. “Everyone needs help, but they need help badly and they need somebody to listen to them. It’s not all medical, they need support, and I give it to them.”

Brown has some patients who he’s treated for 50 years, and even at his age, he has no thoughts of ever quitting.

“I do this full time, every day, five days a week. I love what I do. I never have a bad day.”

Richard Brown has been a full-time doctor for 60 years.
Richard Brown has been a full-time doctor for 60 years.
His Jewish Journey

Besides his work as a physician, synagogue life and Judaism are the other important parts of Brown’s journey.

It was Brown’s childhood dream, while watching people entering Congregation Shaarey Zedek from his grandmother’s apartment window, to one day be a member there. 

“These were comfortable people in my eyes,” Brown said. “They were wearing suits and ties and dressed up, and I said someday I’d really like to join there and belong.”

Years later, he more than realized that dream, becoming an officer, board member and the 37th president of Shaarey Zedek in 1994. Brown has been a member for 50 years now, and he and Kathleen are still active and involved to this day. 

Relating his love for Judaism and his life of helping others for 60 years, Brown finds a common thread between the two.

“I think the connection is being kind to people, respecting people no matter what their place in life is, respecting all races, religions and just trying to be a good person by helping people.”

It’s been an incredible journey Brown has had, one he is proud to display to his family. 

“And the journey is still going on,” Brown happily states. “That’s the most important part of it.” 

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