August 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Obituary: Stephen J. Brown, 82

Stephen J. Brown, Ph.D., a former president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, died July 23 at his home in Dupont Circle. He was 82.

Brown was born in Moline, Ill., and grew up in Washington. He died at home in his sleep, according to his friend, Donald Bitsberger, who said Brown was in relatively good health. The cause of death is unknown.

Brown spent his entire career as a professor of English literature, teaching in Washington at George Washington University for several years and completing his career as professor of English at the George Mason University in Virginia. He was a graduate of Yale University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1950, and his Ph.D. in 1959. Brown also attended Clare College, University of Cambridge, England. Brown, who was gay, was a lifelong political activist in Washington working for gay rights. He was a Kennedy delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Loyal Snyder, a longtime friend, said Brown was a “kind, generous and caring man. He was a scholar with great interest in the history of homosexuality in Western literature. He was best known for his ready sense of wit and strongly held political opinions,” Snyder said. Brown is survived by his sister, Virginia (Mimi) of Essex Falls, N.J. He will be missed by his friends, Donald and Diane Bitsberger, Snyder, and many friends from the Yale Class of 1950, the faculty of George Mason University, and the local D.C. political community. His marriage to the late Loraine Brown, ended in divorce.

He was cremated and will be buried with his parents in Rock Creek Cemetery. A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, (4700 Whitehaven Parkway, N.W.) in Washington.

Donations in memory of Brown may be made to the Reel Affirmations, c/o One In Ten Inc., 1920 N St., N.W., Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20036 or to the charity of choice.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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