David Brown, 1951-2007

Updated: Details on funeral arrangements for David are here….

David Brown attended the villa as a freshman and sophomore, leaving in the spring of 1967. He attended a villa reunion with several of his (VSJ, ’69) classmates in Orlando, Florida, in the spring of 2001.

David worked in hospital administration and for the past decade was the president and CEO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina. He told me he took the job for a less political position (earlier, he’d worked in the Washington, D.C., region) and to move to a more sunny area. He was an avid boater. He leaves two children, Caitlin Ryan Brown, 18, a freshman at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., and Ryan David Brown, a high school junior in Beaufort, who will turn 17 next month.

 An obituary was published in the Beauford Gazette here. 

As a few of us might remember, Dave was a sports enthusiast and he broke his arm (badly) in a fall in the ravine bordering the river behind the school at the very end of his 1966-67 year. And Bill Lang (’69) recalls that Dave was a fervent capture-the-flag player in the woods.

Dave’s sister, Catherine Brown, sent us some details about his life, prepared for an obituary. An excerpt:

(Dave) was an avid skier, golfer, car enthusiast, and sports fan who rooted famously for the San Francisco 49ers, the Duke Blue Devils, and the Boston Red Sox, but he most loved the water. He lived on the water in Annapolis (Bay Ridge) and had waterfront homes in Beaufort and Harbor Island/St. Helena, South Carolina. 

For many years he kept the sailboat “Moonshadow” at Solomon’s Island and then in Annapolis. He collected model sailboats, carved wooden ducks, and artwork related to the sea and sailing.  He was also a dog-lover who owned a series of sable and white rough collies named Skylie, Spinnaker, and Skyler and, at the time of his death, a Yorkshire Terrier named Duke whose occupation he listed as “basketball player.” 

Here is the text of a release from Beauford Hospital on Dave:
David Emerson Brown, President & CEO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital since 1996, passed away this afternoon.  He became seriously ill in February, and was being hospitalized closer to his sister in Washington, DC.   In his absence, Jeffrey L. White, BMH Senior Vice President & CFO, has been serving as Interim CEO.


“We are all saddened to hear of David’s death today,” said BMH Board Chairman William Paddock.  “We were all hoping he could overcome his illness and return to us.  He did so many great things for our hospital over the years.  Under his leadership, Beaufort Memorial has undergone unprecedented growth.  One of the best things he did for us was develop the long-term affiliation we have with Duke University Health System in heart and cancer care,” he said.  “We will remember him for a long time.”

An honors graduate of Boston University with a master’s degree in business administration, Brown entered the healthcare field in 1976 as assistant executive director of Prince George’s Foundation for Medical Care in Landover, MD.  Within a year, he had moved into the position of executive director.  He joined Greater Southeast Community Hospital in Washington, DC in 1982 as vice president for professional services and, over the next 12 years, moved up the ranks to become President & CEO of Greater Southeast Community Hospital Foundation, Inc.  The Foundation operated two hospitals, long term care facilities, home health agencies, pharmacies, and other health-related businesses.

“We were fortunate to attract a person of David’s caliber,” said H. Tim Pearce, MD, BMH Chief of Staff, who also was Chairman of the hospital Board at the time Brown was selected.  “We knew our area was expanding, and that healthcare was becoming increasingly competitive.  We needed a leader who would help us ensure Beaufort Memorial’s independence as a true community hospital.  David Brown did that.

  As a result, our hospital is able to carry out its mission of delivering superior healthcare services to our patients, and to improve the health of our community.  We have seen many great improvements to the services our hospital provides thanks to David’s leadership.”

Plans are being made for a memorial service to be held at the hospital in the near future.  For information, contact the PR & Marketing department at (843) 522-5171.

And here’s an excerpt from an obituary from David’s sister:

David Emerson Brown, 55, of Beaufort, South Carolina, who also lived for many years in Annapolis, Greenbelt, and Bethesda, Maryland, died at Johns Hopkins University Hospital on March 19, 2007.  He had been admitted there on February 12 for a severe internal hemorrhage and died from resulting complications.

…. He started his career at the Prince George’s County Foundation for Medical Care (a professional standards review organization) where he worked from 1976 to 1988, after receiving an MBA in healthcare management with honors in 1976 from Boston University, from which he also received his B.A. in 1974.

Mr. Brown was born in 1951 in Germany and also lived overseas in India, the Netherlands, and Canada, where his father was assigned as a US Foreign Service Officer. He attended high school at the Villa St. Jean in Switzerland, the American International School of the Hague, and Kents Hill School in Maine.

Mr. Brown is survived by two children from his second marriage, Caitlin Ryan Brown, 18, a freshman at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, and Ryan David Brown, a high school junior in Beaufort who will turn 17 next month.  He is also survived by his father, Emerson M. Brown, of Reed City, Michigan; his sister, Catherine W. Brown of Washington, DC; his brother, Christopher G. Brown of Columbus, Ohio; and many friends, including especially Lisa Gilligan Stewart of Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, to whom he was committed.  His mother, Winifred Ryan Brown, died in 1990.  His marriages to Terry Taylor and Rita Buesgens Brown ended in divorce. 

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Rex Harrison & friends….

 These photos come to us via Mary Bosworth, who sent them to Kevin Di Palma, who’s currently off the grid in rural China. She obtained them from Rex Harrison, white shirt and VSJ class of 1968.
The photographs were taken in Austin, Texas, on November 12, 2005. From left to right: Joe Stivers, 67; Rene’ Drouin, 66; Eric (Rex) Harrison, 68; Charlie Steen, 72;, Gabriel Ayson, 66; George Bocca, 71; and (facing away) Roy Rieber, 67. A second photo, with Rex in the center, is in the blog’s photo collection here.

  — the editors

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A glimpse from the Villa’s first decades…

These photos come to us from François Chagué, who forwarded them to Kevin Di Palma.

 François scanned these pictures from his father’s time at the Villa. His father — François Chagué, born in December 1901 — studied at the Villa from 1914/15 to 1919. These may be among our oldest pictures. 

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Villa graduates, 1931

Editor’s note: Kevin Di Palma, the godfather of our alumni site, passes on this note from a son of a Villa graduate.

Following research on Internet, I discover your site which, suddenly, evokes familiar memories. My father, Philippe Rheinart, is registered on the list of the alumni graduated from 1930-1931, group of Paris.
 Born in 1912, he died in 1982. I gathered in an album the photographs from the youth of my father and found this photograph there that I address to you, as well as the back of the photograph where my father write the names of his classmates in promotion.
 My father is in the top row, the third from the left. It is the only document in my possession concerning the Villa St Jean, and I hope that it will supplement your files. Sincerely yours.
Martine Rheinart, Résidence Les Oréades


A la suite d’une recherche sur internet, je découvre votre site qui ,soudain, évoque des souvenirs familiaux.Mon père ,Philippe RHEINART, est inscrit sur la liste des anciens élèves, promotion 1930-1931, groupe de Paris. Né en 1912, il est décédé en 1982.
Jai rassemblé dans un album les photos concernant la jeunesse de mon père et y ai retrouvé cette photo de groupe que je vous adresse ainsi que le verso de la photo où mon père a inscrit les noms de ses camarades de promotion. Mon père se trouve au rang supérieur , le troisième à partir de la gauche.
 C’est le seul document en ma possession concernant la Villa St Jean et j’espère qu’il complétera vos archives.
 Je vous prie  d’agréer l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.

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Update: Cyril Boschert since the villa…

Editor’s note: This is another installment in our “where-are-they-now” feature. Earlier entries include updated bios of Steve Boom, Thomas Brew, and Jhon Akers. Boschert, a Marianist at the Villa in the ’60s, is also the author of our section on the end of the villa. Send yours today to villastjean@gmail.com and include a picture.
Let your classmates know what you’re up to…
In September/October  of 1969, the last VSJ school year, I made my definite decision to leave religious life, after having thought it over for several years.
  In November I informed my superiors in St. Louis that I would be leaving the order and in January I wrote to the Pope asking to be released from my vows as a Marianist.  In April the dispensation arrived and from that point on I ceased being a Marianist brother.
 I had asked Brother Moran and the Marianists if I could continue to live and work at the Villa as a layman. I was allowed to do so, and as far as I know, it may have been the first time anyone had left the order and continued to live in the community with the Brothers and continue to follow their daily routine.

It was as though nothing had changed in my relationship with the brothers and with the students. I don’t think any of the students were aware I was no longer a brother.  I continued living in Ormes and everything seemed very normal.
 As I now returned to lay status some things changed, however. First of all I had to find work once the school year ended. Secondly, it was now normal to think of an eventual married life. As I then very definitely wanted to stay in the international sphere of education I sent out inquiries to a number of international schools in Europe.
 Fortunately, the Stavanger American School in Stavanger, Norway, was interested and I was hired as Director. I very much enjoyed the Norwegian experience, but I was always keeping an eye open to return someday to Switzerland.
After two years in Stavanger I was once again fortunate in that Collège du Léman International School in Versoix, a suburb of Geneva, had an opening and I was hired as Assistant Headmaster.
 It was my hope that I would be happy with CDL and they would be happy with me, and that I would be able to spend the rest of my professional career there.  And that is the way things turned out. I stayed there for the next thirty years as head of the Anglo-American section.
Five years ago I retired but have continued to help out from time to time as I live just a few minutes walk from the school.  My wife, Hélène. is also from Fribourg, which gives us reason to go back there frequently. We have three daughters, all living in the Geneva area, and two wonderful grandsons.

— Cyril Boschert, February 2007

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Cyril Boschert on the end of the Villa ….

All: In response to our plea for details about the end of the Villa, we received this missive from Cyril Boschert, still stationed in Switzerland.. Here is his report.
Reading Stu McClintock’s article on the closing of the Villa points out that the “mystery”  still remains, after 36 years!  It’s likely to remain even longer. I was a member of the faculty of the Villa at the time of its closing.  I was very much effected by its closing, but was in no way one of the decision-makers.  We Marianists who were there had been told it was going to happen ( I don’t remember just when, but in the first semester, I think), were unhappy with the decision and tried our best, with the strong support of Brother Moran, to keep it going.

We planned, and proposed to the various Marianist authorities in the U.S. a program which we titled STEP (Study/Travel in Europe Program) which was to offer the Villa as the base for students from Marianist schools to study and travel in Europe.  We hoped this would attract a sufficient number of students to all that the Villa and Europe had to offer in order to keep it going financially.  Brother Moran even made a trip to the States to propose it to various key people.
Sadly, the Villa closed nevertheless. Why?  I cannot say with certainty because I was never in on the discussions which led to the decision to close. What’s more, those who did make the decision and Brother Moran, who surely knew more than I did, are now no longer alive to give a definite answer. I do remember, however, a few of the things that probably played a part in the decision.
1. In the late 60’s an increasing number of religious, Marianists included, were leaving religious life. This fact, coupled with a diminishing number of new members entering, was starting to cause an acute shortage of personnel in existing establishments.  Decisions had to be made how best to deploy available personnel. One of those decisions was to close the Villa.
2. Why the Villa? One reason was probably financial. The cutoff point for breaking even was 100 students. The final two or three years (at the end there were only 55 students) were below that crucial level. The school was clearly a drain on Marianist finances that had to be considered.
3. When the Villa became an international school in 1960 taught in Englsh by Marianists from the St. Louis Priovince it was already thought of as an opportunity for Marianist schools to be able to offer something special for their students by going to the Villa for a semester or year or two.  This idea never really caught on.
4. The international seminary across the street from the Villa always provided an opportunity for American seminarians to teach part time or become involved in different activities. In the early 70’s, American seminarians were starting to go to Toronto instead of Fribourg; therefore that connection to the Villa, and potential source of faculty, was also coming to an end.

5. Marianist provincial authorities in St. Louis knew some of the Marianist staff at the Villa would soon be leaving the order. If the Villa stayed open, that would be a further drain on Marianist personnel.
6. The enrollment of the Villa was not only very small, there was a large percentage of students who were not Catholic. In the eyes of some, Marianists traditionally taught in schools almost entirely Catholic, and the Villa was slipping out of that category.
7. The city of Fribourg was anxious to buy the Villa property for a good price. The time seemed right for the Marianists to sell in order to meet their financial obligations throughout the world. A few years later the Marianist seminary across the street from the Villa was also sold. In the next few years a number of other Catholic international boarding schools in Europe also closed for reasons similar to the Villa’s closing.
8. In the Wikpedia article about the Villa Jerry Gegg (mispelled as Gregg) was quoted as saying the Marianist authorities were not open to the idea of the Villa becoming coed. I was not aware of that being a reason, but it might have been. Overall, there just didn’t seem to be enough viable reasons to keep it open.
As I implied earlier, there may have been other more important reasons that I did not know about.  What I have stated above, however, based on weakening memories of 36 years ago, may shed a little light on the “mystery.”
 Regardless, I think we can consider ourselves lucky to have been a part of the Villa while it lasted.
Cyril Boschert (former brother at the Villa 1964-66 and again 1968-70)

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Saint-Exupery & Mr. McClintock, VSJ ’70

Stuart McClintock, french professor at Midwestern State University in Texas and Saint-Exupery scholar, sends along a couple items from his closet for our web site.


This first here is a picture of an exhibit of Saint-Exupery and his wife that was in Caen, France last summer. A student of Stuart’s was studying there and knew of his interest in the writer so she made a photo of the exhibition poster and went to the exhibit.

Secondly, is this image of a chamois from some ski resort in Switzerland that Stuart shot in December 1970.

And, finally, here’s a letter from Stacey Schiff, Saint-Exupery biographer, to professor McClintock and preserved on Kevin DiPalma’s site.


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The Villa in color…

Pulled from our villastjean.vox archives here and from Kevin DiPalma’s seminal site here are a couple of the very few color photographs we have of the school’s last years.

If you’ve got a photograph to add to the collection, please e-mail us at the vox site. (It’s our hope that the color photographs won’t make us appear as relics from another era to our offspring.)

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More from Steve Boom…


  A postscript filed to villastjean@gmail.com from Steve Boom…

After my years at VSJ, I transferred to due to my father’s job.

Post-graduation, I returned to in . For now, this is just a short brief since I would rather type using hieroglyphics.

The emergence of the Villa site and tales flooded my depleted brain cells with great unforgettable memories.

In these photos, you’ll note the passionate Anson (Dorrance) playing table soccer with his mentor the incorrigible Willi. That’s pure proof that i was there at the beginning.


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The end of the villa …

This is an open solicitation to those at the Villa during the last (1969-1970) school year.
We at the vox site would love to hear any details about the end of the school.
Send your account to villastjean@gmail.com. Photos gratefully accepted too.

The material below, ripped from two parts of Mr. DiPalma’s villastjean.com site, is the only extent account of the Villa’s last year.
This part, taken from the Villa Talk board, was writen by 1970 graduate Stuart McClintock, now a university professor in Texas.
‘A mysterious event’
The closing of the Villa was a mysterious event for those of us who were there at the time. Of course, being in the last class to graduate, those of us in the clas of ’70 were lucky. My brother wass in the next class and had to scramble, especially since all the college stuff was coming up, and he had no school! I remember when the announcement was made. The school had some kind of parents’ weekend at which, I believe, it was announced to them in “closed session”.
I can’t remember if that was my junior or senior year, but I think it was senior year. We were then told, but no reasons were ever really given. Enrollment had been falling. Classes 7 and 8 had been dropped by then. The dollar was falling fast against the franc.It had gone from about four francs to the dollar to about 2.5 to the dollar.
Those are some of the circumstances I remember, but any more than that, qui sait?

Another acount was written by Jerry Gregg, a Marianist in 1969. 

‘Refused to go co-ed’
Religious Orders were losing members in the late 1960’s. The Marianists of the Society of Mary were dedicated to teaching young men. As a result, they stubbornly refused to go co-ed when everyone else did. Hence, Villa’s enrollment in its last year was 55 students–with 12 full-time staff members.

The St. Louis Province, which included VSJ, decided to close a school. Those who made the decision to close VSJ apparently were not in love with VSJ as were some of us were. The decision to close the Villa was made in December 1969. In spring of 1970 the decision to leave the religious order was made by four of the six Marianists stationed at the Villa–Cy Boschert, Werner Dobner, Fred Fuchs, Jerry Gegg. The other two (Bro. Pat Moran and Rev. James Mueller) returned to the States.

The account, with updates (circa 1999) on the Villa Marianists, is here.

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