Patricia Brown, a co-owner of Talk Business & Politics and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, has died following a long battle with cancer. She was 59.
Patricia was born in Fort Smith, Ark. She lived in Memphis for 24 of her adult years where she developed a career in the non-profit arena. Throughout Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and west Tennessee, Patricia Brown became synonymous with the Make-A-Wish Foundation after 12 years of using numbers to convince people with money to re-energize the organization. And they did. More than 2,000 wishes were granted for very deserving children.
During her tenure with the chapter, she raised public awareness surrounding the need to bring joy into the lives of families facing life-threatening medical conditions in the area, as well as significant funds helping to make these wishes wonderful realities.
It was Patricia’s vision and fortitude during her tenure that contributed to the building of an impressive financial reserve and orchestration of two mergers bringing complimentary wish granting organizations into one – Fulfill A Dream, Fort Smith, Ark., and Nashville, Tenn.-based Dream Makers. Her imagination, magnetic personality, and ability to think beyond the conventional attracted celebrities, donors, volunteers and employees to follow her dream of building an organization that continues to provide hope, strength, and joy for thousands of children facing dire health situations.
Initially in 1992, taking on a chapter that was financially challenged, held marginal name recognition, and had very little infrastructure, she dug in her heels and turned the Mid-South chapter into one that became revered and modeled locally and nationally. To place the scope of her efforts into the proper perspective, the chapter granted two wishes in 1986, which was the chapter’s founding year, but at the time of her departure in 2004, the organization under her leadership was on track to grant 275 wishes that fiscal year and meet a $2.8 million budget.
The John Daly Celebrity Golf Classic was the largest of annual Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South’s fund raising events. In 2004, at John’s request, she launched the John Daly Charitable Foundation. She coordinated Daly’s charitable events for 12 years. In total, her fund raising efforts with John Daly generated more than $3 million for charities.
Patricia began her professional fund raising career in Memphis at Porter-Leath Children’s Center. She viewed the creation of Sarah’s Place, a haven for abused, abandoned and neglected children, as a tangible legacy to her effort to raise $1.25 million in 12 months for the project.
Patricia returned to Fort Smith in September 2007 after battling breast cancer first diagnosed in May 2005. From 2007 to 2010, She served as executive director of the Fort Smith Classic a Nationwide Tour pro golf event. In that role, she continued her legacy of giving back. She created a new initiative, “Pink on the Links,” a day dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer during the Fort Smith Classic. Pink on the Link has been emulated many times in the professional golf arena.
Patricia joined The City Wire (now Talk Business & Politics as of October 2015) in 2010 as an account executive but soon became the chief operating officer. Without question she was the driving force to expand news coverage state-wide, upgrade the technology platform and develop a sales and marketing team. There were less than a handful of employees for the small regional media company in 2010. Today, there are more than 20 employees in a media company that now provides business and politics news across Arkansas. It is highly unlikely such growth would have happened without the foundation she built.
Patricia Brown is survived by husband Michael. She is also survived by her parents Joyce and George Redden. She has one married daughter, Amanda and a son-in-law Scott Whittenberg. She is also survived by her brother Jeff, his wife Karen, son Jacob and daughter Lindsay; and sister Jonna Gonzalez, her husband Mauricio and their son Austin; and step-sister Valena Magill.
She was preceded in death by her brother Jason Wayne Redden, and her mother Mary Nell Bowman and step-father Jon Bowman.
Honorary pallbearers are John Daly, Mike Simpson, Paul Spear, and Michael Tilley. The visitation is 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Edwards Funeral Home in Fort Smith, and the service is 1 to 2 p.m., Monday at First Presbyterian-Fort Smith.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to First Presbyterian-Fort Smith, and to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, 38105, or by visiting stjudetributes.org.