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Jackson County Celebrates Judge's Life

Last updated on Thursday, September 15, 2011

(BROWNSTOWN) - Former Jackson Circuit Judge Robert R. Brown, 78, of Brownstown died Monday morning.

A celebration of Brown's life is planned for 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Jackson Circuit Courthouse in Brownstown.

Judge Brown started the Jackson County Juvenile Residence, a group home in Brownstown for troubled youth. The home opened its doors in 1979.

Even after retirement Brown would ask about the home and how things were going, said Director Dan Banks. He says people would do well to remember the home as part of Brown's legacy to the community.

The mission of the home is to help troubled youth, with the goal of returning them to their own homes. Banks, has seen 200 children come into and out of the home over the last 15 years.

Brown served as judge of Jackson Circuit Court for 28 years before retiring in 1999. He then worked as a mediator through the law office of Montgomery Elsner & Pardieck in Seymour.

Jackson Circuit Judge Bill Vance said Brown's service to the judiciary spread beyond Jackson County. Brown was a popular special judge throughout southern Indiana and was respected by lawyers, Vance said. Brown also served as president of the Indiana Judges Association.

Vance, who appeared in many cases before Brown as an attorney before following him on the bench, said the judge brought a quiet, courteous demeanor to his work that well served the judicial system and the many people appearing in his court.

For the first five of Brown's 28 years as judge, he was the county's only judge. Jackson County Court, since elevated to Superior Court, came in 1976, and Jackson Superior Court II was added in 2008, eventually spreading the caseload among three judges.

Before being appointed Jackson County prosecutor in 1965 by Gov. Roger Branigin, Brown worked as an attorney with Ed Whitcomb in the law firm of Whitcomb and Brown in Seymour.

Whitcomb, a native of Hayden, would leave the firm when elected Indiana Secretary of State and later governor. Brown went on to become appointed and then elected prosecutor and later elected judge.

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