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Obituary: Ruth J. Brown

Ruth J. Brown, a former guidance counselor in the Roslyn Public Schools, teacher’s union representative, local columnist and political activist, died Feb. 22, 2010 in Manhattan. She was 84.

Born in 1925, Brown was the daughter of William Z. and Dora M. Spiegelman, and was raised in Brooklyn. She taught in the New York City public schools for 10 years. She was married to Leon Brown, an attorney.

After moving to Syosset in 1966 and raising her children, William and David, Brown returned to education. She joined Roslyn High School in 1970 as a guidance counselor. She retired from Roslyn Junior High School as a special education counselor in 1986.

Brown was also active in civic affairs and Democratic Party politics on the North Shore for 30 years.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Brown wrote a weekly column for the Oyster Bay Guardian called “Syosset Soundings” which reported on a wide variety of local issues and was a guest editorial writer. Brown also served as vice president of the League of Women Voters for the Town of Oyster Bay.

Brown was involved in numerous political campaigns on Long Island often writing campaign literature and position papers for candidates. As a candidate herself, in 1972 she was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from the Third Congressional District.

During her tenure in the Roslyn schools, Brown served as the vice president of the Roslyn Teachers Association and was at the time of her death the association’s president emeritus.

After retiring, Brown helped organize chapters of retired teachers on the North Shore and throughout Nassau County in the 1980s and 1990s, and she worked as a retiree consultant for the New York State United Teachers for Nassau County from 2001 to 2006.

On behalf of retired teachers statewide, Brown is credited for helping secure a permanent cost of living adjustment on pensions, among other achievements. In 2004, Brown received the Living the Legacy Award from the Women’s Rights Committee of the American Federation of Teachers recognizing her 50 years of service to union issues and women’s rights.

An avid photographer and world traveler, Brown and her husband gave slide shows of their many trips at libraries throughout Nassau County.

Leon Brown served as member of the Syosset Public Library board of trustees. He died in 2007 at age 84. Brown lived in Syosset until the fall of 2009.

Brown is survived by her sons William and David; her sister Judy; her brother David and sister-in-law Sandy; and her niece Nancy.

A private celebration of her life is scheduled for April 10 in Oyster Bay.