The Friends can’t imagine anyone more deserving of being memorialized with its scholarship than Richard “Dick” Brown. Dick loved the Oak Bluffs Public Library and was a founding member of the Library Friends, a volunteer organization that raises funds to support the library and its programs. He would go on to donate his expertise as the Friends’ official treasurer for nearly two decades.
Although he had ties to Martha’s Vineyard going back to 1940, it wasn’t until 1967 that Dick took up full-time residence on the island together with his wife, Carol, and their children. Although he spent his entire career as a marine engineer and traveled the world over, he set out to build a different kind of business literally from the ground up. He built the original Edgartown Dairy Queen with his own two hands and spent the next 20 years dishing out ice cream and good will with help from his family and equally dedicated employees.
The Dairy Queen wasn’t Dick’s only creation. After retiring from the family ice cream business, he built a new home in Oak Bluffs where he hosted family gatherings and celebrations.
A loving family man, Dick also devoted his time and talents to his island community and its children. He served as catalyst in reorganizing the island’s only Boy Scout troop and spent the next 12 years as an inspiring leader. Among other things, Dick guided the development of Camp Duarte as chairman of The Friends of Martha’s Vineyard Scouting. The Boy Scouts of America honored his dedication to scouting with one of its highest awards available for adults, the Silver Beaver Award.
Dick also demonstrated his commitment to the youth of Martha’s Vineyard and his love of baseball by umpiring Little League games. He expected players to exemplify good manners and the highest ideals of sportsmanship while having fun. Altogether, he spent 53 years behind home plate, first on Staten Island and then the Vineyard. Dick retired only when his failing eyesight beat out his passion for the game. Upon his retirement, one of his players wrote of him that he taught them “how to lose with dignity and how to win with honor.”
Dick also gave unstintingly of his time to his church. He served as treasurer for the Edgartown United Methodist Congregation for more than 20 years and volunteered for many activities, most notably the Monday Night Community Suppers held at the church where he did everything from setting up tables, peeling potatoes and washing dishes. The church in turn honored him as one of their “Angels Among Us.”
Dick excelled at woodcarving, a skill he perfected during long maritime journeys. He shared that skill by teaching woodcarving at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center.
Toward the end of his long and rich life, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy honored him as its “Alumnus of the Year” and recognized his many accomplishments at the Academy’s Homecoming football game.
The Library Friends announce this scholarship to recognize his kind spirit and willingness to help. We hope the recipients of the scholarship will follow in his footsteps and exemplify that generosity and true community spirit.