- On May 23, 2023
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Anthony (Tony) Henry Brown
November 20, 1948 – May 22, 2023
Singer, Peace Ambassador, and Advocate for Human Rights
Anthony Brown, age 74, of South Fayette Township, passed away on May 22, 2023, surrounded by beloved family and friends. Anthony (Tony) was preceded in death by his parents, William H. II and Ora Brown, brother William H. Brown, III, and siblings, Rev. Cathryn (Rev. Joseph) Brundage, Eileen (Howard) Tibbs, and (Ronald) Diggs. Tony is survived by his brother Daniel (Barbara/Michael) Brown, his sister Dr. La Verne Diggs, and a host of nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his loving companion of sixteen years, Erika Shinya, who cared for him with an agape love and profound compassion, during his final days.
Tony was born in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in McDonald Pennsylvania, where he was part of the racial integration of South Fayette School District. At the age of sixteen, he transferred to Central Christian High School in Kidron Ohio where he graduated. Tony then attended Hesston College in Hesston Kansas, and Goshen College in Goshen Indiana, graduating in 1971,with a B.A. degree in Psychology. Tony then received his Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. He taught at Goshen College from 1980-1983. He then spent 17 years as the Assistant Director of the Counseling Center at the University of Washington while also working privately as a psychotherapist. In 2000, Tony became a faculty member and Artist in Residence at Hesston College, teaching courses within the social sciences and utilizing his musical giftedness. Tony worked with former President Dr. Loren Swartzendruber and former Alumni Director Mr. Dallas Stutzman to create a platform for Tony to launch a prolific and professional music career. Tony became a world ambassador of peace as he traveled the globe, using his powerful voice to bridge differences. In 2007, Tony recognized that there were still many people in our world who did not have access to health care, education, and art & culture opportunities, so he created the Peacing It Together Foundation, helping to fulfill his vision of bringing peace to every home on the entire planet. In addition, a school named Anthony Brown Baritone Comprehensive School was established in the African country of Uganda to serve formerly abducted child soldiers, orphans and other vulnerable children.
With a deep, rich baritone voice, Anthony Brown captivated audiences all over the world, performing a timeless tribute to Paul Robeson, entitled, “I Go On Singing.” Recently, he collaborated with legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, who appears with him in the musical documentary, I Go On Singing. Paul Robeson’s Life in his Words and Song. In the spirit of Robeson, Tony sang boldly for peace and justice with a goal of helping everyone he touched become a global citizen. As a passionate advocate for peace, he worked at reducing tensions in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Moldova, Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Uganda, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Columbia, continually advocating for human rights. Along the way, Tony, (a scholar-practitioner) gave many public lectures that rang the bell for justice and inspired all who had ears to hear.
To know Tony was to love Tony. He often said, “if we can see each other’s light, we can be each other’s light.” He even named one of his six recorded albums “Each Other’s Light.” His home in Pennsylvania brought him true joy. He loved nature, and he loved living simply. It was always evident that he cared more about others than he cared about himself. Once he retired he enjoyed sitting peacefully on the porch of his log home visiting with Erika and his sister La Verne. In Tony’s final days he stated, “We are our brother’s and sister’s keeper, and it is the reason I live and the reason I breathe.
We are losing a dear brother, uncle, companion, and friend at a time when the world needs Tony and his message of peace the most. His legacy, his Spirit, and his invisible embrace will be with us for the rest of our days.
In honor of Tony, we encourage everyone to make peace with an adversary, support reconciliation, and participate in other peace-making activities. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Peacing it Together Foundation in c/o Hesston College, 301 South Main Street, Hesston Kansas 67062.