Richard J. Brownell

Richard J. Brownell

The manner in which he greets people is so natural and welcoming that you give little thought to the message it sends. A smile that lights up his face, sending the dual message that he’s really glad to see you, and reflecting a philosophy of life that welcomes opportunity rather than being apprehensive about the next things that might happen.

“He’s the longest serving volunteer with the Needham Community Council.” replied Tia Hawkes, director of the Council as she thoughtfully responded to questions about Dick Brownell.

Many words can perhaps be captured by a few. He is a past treasurer and president of the Council. And, like so many others who have worked for the Council, he has worked with his hands as well as with his mind.

Those observations were the beginning of a compilation of accomplishments that spoke to the dimensions of his service. There are so many that they could fill the rest of this page. And the documentation for the many things that he has done had to come from sources other than himself. To cite a few: He has been a Needham Trust Fund Commissioner, a member of the Finance Committee, and a Town Meeting Member. Past treasurer of the Visiting Nurse Association, and the American Red Cross. Past President and director of the Needham Rotary Club, activities with the Needham-Newton Chamber of Commerce, and various vocational service organizations.

Even when he goes on vacation, he unobtrusively becomes involved in activities. For example, in addition to being the archivist for the Town of Brooksville, Maine, he will be the Grand Marshall of this year’s 4th of July parade.

A family always is the center of each family member’s life, and it is with both pride and affection that Dick speaks of his wife Mildred (whom he and her many friends call Babe), daughter Barbara, son Richard, and grandchildren Timothy, Julia and Peter.

While it might appear incidental to a life so filled with community involvement, Dick did work for the Norfolk County Trust Company, and the BayBank for 43 years. A deserving biography would include graduation from Boston University, continuing education at Williams College, and University of Indiana. And equally important, service in World War II, the United States Navy, 1943-45.