Thursday, May 06, 2021


Matthew R. Brown


On March 30, 2021, my brother Matthew R. “Matt” Brown crossed the finish line. He was born Oct. 6, 1968, in Hartford, to Robert E. and Helen (Cabaniss) Brown. Early years were spent at The Country School of Madison, Xavier High School, and Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts (BA).

He spent most of his life serving complete strangers as a 911 dispatcher and keeping his officers and firefighters safe. For a brief time, I was honored to be one of those officers, and saw him in his full glory as he served. Dispatching was not what he did. It is who he was. Ask any officer he served and they will tell you he was one of the best. A calm voice in the storm. Someone who they knew had their back. Always.

The only thing he loved more than being a dispatcher was being a husband to the love of his life, Caroline (Billings). He proposed on Mount Washington in grand spectacle that only Matt could have come up with (train, clouds, binoculars, big sign). They were married June 15, 2002. They went to Alaska, made various trips to the beach, and raised his beloved Hugo and Fiona, a pair of mastiffs that went everywhere with him. He lived life to the fullest and brought an infectious humor to every aspect of his life. He loved the railroad and when he was not working on his G-Scale models, he was volunteering at the Valley Railroad in Essex, working on the real steam powered ones from years gone by.

A couple of years ago he had a stroke (while dispatching a police chase), but being as determined as he was, did not quit and fought back to dispatch again. His 911 team was truly his family, and he would never willingly give them up. March 30, 2021, two days before his retirement date, we lost him. I already miss his laugh, his fierce loyalty, and the honor and integrity that he personified. Though his body has failed, I know his faith was strong. In one of our recent conversations, he stated, “My sword may be rusty, but it is still in both hands.” I know one day I will see him again. Not as he was here on Earth, but fully healed. Rest now big brother.

Matt is survived by his mother Helen Brown, wife Caroline (Billings) Brown, and brother and sister-in-law, Nathan and Angie Brown.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7 in the Swan Funeral Home, 80 East Main Street, Clinton, with a memorial service from 6 to 7 p.m. Interment will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 8, directly in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, where he will join his father Robert E. Brown and grandparents, Rev. Cramer C. and Vivian Cabaniss. The Clinton Volunteer Fire Department will host a luncheon at headquarters for family and friends on April 8, immediately following the burial.

In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to Clinton Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance, 35 E. Main Street, Clinton, CT 06413 and/or Westbrook Ambulance, 1316 Boston Post Road, Westbrook, CT 06498.

Share Your Condolences