Goodbye to ILTA>ON and Again to Browning Marean

It’s Friday Aug. 28 and the fifth and final day of ILTA>ON is coming to a close. It was a wonderful event and, as always, featured outstanding educational content and robust, albeit virtual, social interaction.

In 2014 at this time I was at ILTA and sending emails to my dear friend Browning Marean who was hospitalized in Texas fighting cancer. Earlier in the week I had gathered a number of his friends and colleagues for a group photo which we sent him and posted on social media. I also took a photo of him, had it signed by everyone I could find and sent to him via FedEx.

Two days later Gayle and I were back in New Orleans, driving to the French Quarter for lunch when we received the phone call saying Browning had left us. Gayle burst into tears and I had to pull over to compose myself and then started crying as well.

I miss him just as much today as that day. The great Boston Celtics basketball player Bill Russell once said about Larry Bird, “He’s a better person than a basketball player.” Browning was a better friend than a colleague.

Sometime after he passed, I received the picture back in the mail. I never learned who sent it but I keep it on my desk, look at it constantly during each day as I work and often ask myself, “what would Browning do?”

Write if you get work old friend.

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