HAF Honors Houston ‘Legend’ J.W. Brown

DALLASThe Houston Advertising Federation has established a scholarship fund in honor of Jean William Brown, a prominent ad executive, mentor and community leader who died last week at 76.

Brown suffered an apparent stroke a day after having Thanksgiving dinner with his family, said federation president Jay Hagins. Funeral services, attended by numerous ad executives influenced by Brown, were held Wednesday in Houston, Hagins said.

“He was known as a counselor and confidante to people in the industry,” Hagins said. “He cared as much about the people who were just getting their start as he did the veterans.”

Brown had continued to work at his agency, Jean William Brown and Associates, until the time of his death, said Hagins, who knew Brown for more than 30 years.

“We [HAF] awarded him a Living Legend Award because ‘legend’ is the best way to describe him,” Hagins said. “But we also wanted him to know what the community thought of him.”

A former president of the HAF, Brown continued to serve on the board. He was an honorary life member of the federation and had won many awards for creativity.

An enthusiast of the arts, Brown served on the boards of the Alley Theater, the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston and the Houston Ballet. He was also active in the Ex-Students Association of the University of Texas at Austin and was chairman of the board of trustees for the Art Institute of Houston. He was an U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War.

Brown said he decided to go into advertising when he was working on the rewrite desk at The Austin American-Statesman while attending college. When he learned that the well-dressed visitors to the newspaper were invariably advertising executives, he said he decided to change his major.

“Five years later I was coming back to UT as a guest lecturer,” the San Antonio native said in an interview for the Ex-Students Association. “I’ve been in the business now for 52 years, and I haven’t once been bored or unhappy with the decision I made.”

Hagins said contributions to the scholarship fund should be sent to the Advertising Educational Foundation of Houston, Jean William Brown Fund, PO Box 27592, Houston, Texas, 77227.