Park Forest, Politics

Harold Brown Steps Down

Trustee Harold Brown. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- After serving the better part of two terms on the Park Forest Village Board, Trustee Harold Brown’s resignation became effective Monday night, October 23, with the swearing-in of Trustee Georgia O’Neill. Residents lined up to bid Trustee Brown well in his retirement, and to thank him for his years of service to the people of Park Forest both on the Village Board and in other capacities.

Resident Judy Lohr thanked Brown for his friendship, “Harold, my mentor, my friend, you will be missed. The village is a much better place to live and play in since you gave so much of your time in one capacity or another.”  Lohr continued her remarks recognizing Brown’s service on school boards: “I was fortunate to succeed you on the District 227 board. You and your colleagues made us look good because of your foresight. I then gained more appreciation for your level-headedness while working on the Traffic and Safety Commission and the Non-Partisan Committee. I am glad that, although you are moving to Arizona, I will be able to see you when I am there visiting my extended family. We love you and will miss you.”

Lohr was followed by resident Suzie Brown, who remembered Brown’s dedication to Park Forest, “You name it, Harold has done it for the Village of Park Forest.  If he hasn’t done it, Rose Carol has.  During his fifty-plus years in Park Forest, Harold has given a tremendous amount of service for the betterment of the community.  He has served as a Village Trustee for nearly two terms and served fourteen years as a member and President of School Districts 163 and 227.  In addition, he has been President of the Park Forest Rotary Club and was one of the original mediation trainers.”

Suzie Brown then reflected on Trustee Brown’s dedication, “He listens to everyone and brings all the facts, plus his broad business experience, to bear before coming to common-sense decisions.  His sense of humor has many times added a chuckle to the proceedings.”

Harold Brown announced his resignation last month, citing the recent deaths of his wife, Rose Carol, and daughter, Sheila.  Both Harold and Rose Carol have both been recognized in the Park Forest Hall of Fame.  Suzie Brown recognized his other honors, “In addition, he received the Cook County Medal of Honor for Volunteerism and the Park Forest Jaycee’s Distinguished Service Award.  All of this was done while helping to raise five children, swim regularly in his pool, attend nearly every Park Forest function, and carry on his model airplane hobby.”

She concluded her remarks, “Harold, you are a pretty amazing person.  We thank you deeply for all you have done for Park Forest.  We know when you move to Phoenix it won’t be long before you are involved there, as well.  We wish you all the best and only ask that you come and see us whenever you can.”

Resident Gary Kopycinski noted Brown’s good nature. Addressing Brown directly, he said, “I remember some knock-down, drag-out discussions, sometimes about signs, sometimes about other things like direct criticisms of staff or policy. You made sure at the end of the meeting, if there was any ill will or strong words, you got up, sought the person, and shook hands or gave a hug. With you, the person always came before the issues.”

Reached for comment, Trustee Brown affirmed the direction the Village of Park Forest was moving. “I think we’re going in the right direction.  We’re just at the edge of success,” he said, “I really do feel that this is the time to be here.”