Stephen Browne

Obituary of Stephen D. Browne

Browne, Steve BERNE — Friends, family, neighbors and community members have been gathering this week from across the country and around the world to honor Steve Browne, who moved on to new adventures Tuesday, July 24, 2012, while working on the family farm in Berne. Steve, known to friends and family as "Poppa Browne," was born in Avon, graduated from Cornell University and worked as a wildlife biologist in Alaska, Tennessee and Saskatchewan before joining the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where he worked for 32 years, specializing in game, waterfowl and endangered wetlands. He was instrumental in helping to pass a 1988 state ban on the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl. Three years later, the same ban was adopted nationwide. Steve married Mary Breeze in October, 1963. He is the father of four children, grandfather of six and a father figure and mentor to dozens of additional young people who were always welcome at the Brownes' home. Poppa Browne — a big bear of a man — is best remembered for his deep, resonant voice, gentle spirit and devoted stewardship of the nearly 500 acres of fields and forests at the family farm. He freely shared his love and knowledge of the natural world at every opportunity, including duck and goose banding trips, full-moon hikes and stories by the firelight. Steve was an avid reader and student of history. He traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, including several trips to Ireland . Always, however, he was happiest working at home in the fields, woods, caves and cliffs of the family homestead, caring for animals on the farm and enhancing the natural beauty of the property by planting trees, building new perennial gardens and creating spaces of supreme beauty and quiet reflection. A ceremony will be held Thursday, August 2 at 11 a.m. at the Browne residence on Pleasant Valley Road in Berne . All are welcome to attend and share stories and reminiscences. Memorial donations may be sent to the Nature Conservancy or Ducks Unlimited. Online messages for the family may be sent to:
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