Obituary: Former Nelson Bay Primary School principal Ted Brown remembered

Edwin "Ted" Brown was a man of humour, respect, fairness, wisdom and reliability.

It is these traits that the former Nelson Bay Primary School principal and beloved community man is being remembered for following his death last month.

Mr Brown, principal of the primary school 1978 to 1990, his last posting before he retired from a long career in education, passed away peacefully on June 26 following a year-long battle with kidney disease. He was 87 years old.

His wife, Jel, daughter Sandy and daughter-in-law Teresa, were by his side.

"Our dad, as with mum, committed his life to education," daughter Merredy Brown said. "He saw how important it was in helping people out of disadvantage and making the world a more cohesive place.

"Dad was fair and inclusive, wise and measured, reliable and principled. Humour was important to him, for its own sake, but often for its place in defusing difficult situations.

"The Ted Brown you might have seen in school for eight hours a day was the person we were lucky to have as our dad 24-hours a day.

"Dad was a force for good within the family first and the wider communities he lived and worked in. In line with his quiet intentions, he will leave this world a better place than he found it."

Ted Brown in the office of Nelson Bay Primary School following a flood in the 1980s.

Ted Brown in the office of Nelson Bay Primary School following a flood in the 1980s.

Ted Brown was born on September 28, 1931 in Blayney, NSW to Mabel and John Brown, who was also a teacher and school principal. He attended Sydney Teachers' College.

His early teaching appointments included stints in Wagga Wagga, Lockhart and Curban.

It was while he was posted at the one-teacher Curban school, near Coonabarabran, that he met Jel. They were married on January 1, 1960.

When his Curban appointment was up, the pair moved so Mr Brown could teach in Gulargambone, Gulah and Corindi. Mr Brown then became principal at West Albury, Nowra, Muswellbrook and finally Nelson Bay.

While working in the Bay as a principal, Mr Brown and wife Jel raised three children, Sandy, Merredy and Toby, and were involved with the tennis and surf club.

A challenge for Mr Brown came in the mid-1980s when Nelson Bay Public School, which had then been located in Wahgunyah Road, flooded to the rafters.

"Ted recalled swimming in his office to rescue his glasses," friend and former Medowie principal Mike Sparrow said.

"Later when the school inspector called by asking for current school planning and policy documents, Ted responded with humour saying 'they were swept away in the flood'."

Mr Brown enjoyed 27 years of retirement that included travelling with Mrs Brown.

Miss Brown thanked the "wonderful" Nelson Bay community for its "great support" of Ted and Jel, in particular during her father's illness.

"This includes all of the health professionals who looked after him, his friends at shops all around the Bay... people who stopped them in the street for a yarn and former students who called out their hellos. Heartfelt thanks to you all."

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