Southampton Pediatrician, Dr. Sherburne ‘Sherb’ Brown Jr., Remembered Fondly


A longtime resident and caregiver in the Village of Southampton, Dr. Sherburne Carleton Brown Jr., known to many as “Sherb,” died on February 20, two days after his 83rd birthday.

Dr. Brown grew up in Detroit, Michigan, graduating from Grosse Pointe High School. Born to Sherburne and Margaret Brown on February 18, 1931, Dr. Brown received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan, before settling in New York with his wife, Dorothy.

Dr. Brown began a residency at Cornell New York Hospital in New York City before opening up his own pediatrics practice on Herrick Road in Southampton Village that would treat the children of the village and elsewhere on the East End for more than 35 years. Specializing in allergies and immunology, Dr. Brown chose the location because of its proximity to Southampton Hospital, in order to be a helping hand in case of emergencies. In addition, he often made house calls all over the region throughout his career.

By the time he had become a staple of the community, Dr. Brown was named chairman of pediatrics at Southampton Hospital.

When reached for comment, former colleagues at Southampton Hospital celebrated Dr. Brown’s work, which was repeatedly called “innovative,” and had high praise all around.

“Sherb was the pioneer of pediatrics in Southampton, and he was devoted to the welfare of the children in this community,” said Dr. Gail Schonfeld, a pediatrician on Southampton Hospital’s medical staff. “I see him as a hero for what he did for the children of the East End—something for which he received little recognition, nor did he ask for it. Arthur Ashe put it best when he said, ‘True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.’ That’s how I feel about Sherb.”

“As one of the first pediatricians on Southampton Hospital’s medical staff and the leader of the pediatrics department for many years, Dr. Brown paved the way for the expanded pediatric services offered here today,” Southampton Hospital President & CEO Bob Chaloner said in a statement. “We extend our appreciation to Dr. Brown’s family for his years of service and dedication to the hospital and the children of the East End.”

Betty Commander, Southampton Hospital Maternity Center nurse manager, and Dr. Brown’s colleague since 1968, said he was there to greet her on her first day at the hospital, and was always supportive of the nursing staff. “He will be missed,” she said.

Dr. Brown thoroughly enjoyed his adopted hometown. He often went boating on Peconic Bay, played tennis with friends at the Meadow Club, soaked in the sun at the Southampton Bathing Corporation, and passed many a day reading at Rogers Memorial Library.

In addition, Dr. Brown was an avid winemaker, growing grapes experimentally through the guidance of the Cornell Cooperative Extension program. Dr. Brown had such a passion for the craft, he was a member of the New York Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, an exclusive club of Burgundy enthusiasts.

Acting on his deep appreciation of Southampton’s natural landscape, Dr. Brown served on the Southampton Village Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board for 20 years, acting as chairman for many years. Putting his money where his beliefs were, Dr. Brown donated more than 100 Kwanzan cherry trees to the village in his lifetime.

Never focusing too long on the landscape, though, Dr. Brown was also an accomplished pilot, flying his Piper Cherokee all over the tri-state area.

And finding time in his busy schedule, the U.S. Navy Reservist’s weekends were usually tied up with two things: God and football.

A rabid fan of his alma mater’s football program, Dr. Brown rarely ever missed watching the maize and blue of University of Michigan hit the field on a Saturday—or the pews of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Church fill up on a Sunday.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Dottie; a younger brother, Robert Brown of Anthem, Arizona; and three daughters, Amy Fraser and husband John of Darien, Connecticut, Meghan Rainey and husband David of Alexandria, Virginia, and Cathlin Wolanske and husband Stephen of Byram, Connecticut. Dr. Brown had seven grandchildren.

Family members said they would remember Dr. Brown for his integrity, intellect, “big personality,” and devotion to family and friends.

Viewings at the O’Connell Funeral Home, at 30 Little Plains Road in Southampton, will be held on Thursday, February 27, from 2 to 4 p.m., and again from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, February 28, at 10 a.m. at the Basilica of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church at 168 Hill Street in Southampton.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Rogers Memorial Library at 91 Coopers Farm Road, Southampton, NY 11968.

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