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Rex L. Brown 1930-2017


Rex L. Brown, 86, died on September 10, 2017. He was born on October 3, 1930 in Harvel, IL, the son of Loyd and Helen Sanders Brown. Rex is survived by his wife Marilyn M., with whom he enjoyed 67 years of blissful marriage and their 4 children: Bruce (Marilyn K.), Cynthia Zimdar (Bill), Britt (Laurie) and Brad (Michelle), 10 Grandchildren, 7 Great-Grandchildren, sister Sharon Rose Bright, and sister-in-law Sue Brown. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Max, sister Carole Ann and Step-mother Helen Martin Brown.

As a youth, Rex helped run his family grain farm, cattle ranch and Brown’s Grocery. They also ran a chicken production operation during WWII. Rex attended Knox College, graduated from Illinois State University and the University of Illinois Law School. While in college, he was a butcher, bartender, sports official, newspaper reporter, and photographer. Upon graduation from U of I Law School in 1957, Rex moved his family to Decatur to practice law. He was the senior partner at Brown, Hawkins & Basola, and had several distinguished lawyers in his firm throughout the years. He was loved by his thousands of clients, many of whom became friends.

As a lawyer, he was a member of the Decatur, Illinois State, and American Bar Associations. He was President of the Decatur Bar Association 1996-1997 and received the 50 years Senior Counselor Recognition in 2007. As a bar committee member, he lobbied the county to provide the judicial robes for the Macon County Judges, a practice which continues today. In 1998 he was admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, received the Illinois State Bar Association Board of Governor’s Award in 2002 and was an adjunct professor for at Richland Community College teaching business and real estate law. 

As a prominent figure in the Republican Party, he was a member of the Young Republicans, a precinct committeeman for over 60 years, chairman of the Macon County Republican Party and delegate to the National Convention. In 1962 thru 1979 he was elected and served on the Macon County Board, serving as Chairman 1971-1972 when instituted the displaying of the United States flag in the courtrooms and he commissioned and created the Macon County flag and Macon county seal which is also displayed in the courtrooms. In 1966 he unsuccessfully ran for state senator, which then ended his plans to run for President of the United States.

Community and civic organizations were always a very important part of Rex’s life. He served, chaired, was a trustee or member of numerous committees including: Illinois Standing Committee on Legal Services and Elder Law, Illinois Political Action Committee (LAWPAC), General Assembly for the Illinois State Bar Association, Macon County Regional Planning Commission, Macon County Mental Health Association, Macon County Historical Commission, Decatur Public Building Commission, the Oakley Damn and Reservoir Advisory Committee, Lincoln Trails Council for Boy Scouts, Breakfast and International Optimist, Decatur Commodore Semi-Pro Baseball Farm League team, South Side Country Club, Elks Club, Y.M.C.A, service club bowling league, Hearing Officer for the Illinois Department for Mines and Minerals, Director for the Bank of Maroa, Director for the Metro Decatur Chamber of Commerce. He played and managed various slow-pitch softball teams and traveled throughout the Midwest for championship tournaments. In 2001 and 2015 he received the Decatur Board of Realtors Gold Key Award. He also received the Good Government Award for the United Stated Junior Chamber of Commerce. 

Illinois Lawyer Now lists obituaries for ISBA members. Please send information, including local newspaper links, to sanderson@isba.org

Posted on Sep 14, 2017 by Sara Anderson | Comments (0)
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