Dr. Trevor Goff Browne

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Dr. Trevor Goff Browne

Trevor Goff Browne (July 6, 1891-March 17, 1977) was born in Montreal, Canada to a household of two parents and seven children – Trevor being the youngest. In 1892, Browne’s mother passed away with his father following after in less than two years. Browne and his sister were then placed under the guardianship of his father’s sister, the “typical maiden aunt in the story book tradition” up until he could graduate from Brockville Collegiate Institute (his high school). Immediately after graduating, Browne began to work as a teacher in order to accumulate the amount of money necessary for him to enter McGill University’s medicine program in Montreal.  While working as a teacher at Kilbach School – in Adnac, Saskatchewan­ – he wasn’t able to properly communicate with his students, since they were only German speaking while he could only speak a ‘high school’ level German. So he devised a method to teach: he would dedicate an hour a day to learning the language leading to them both dabbling into English and German. When an inspector came, he was able to see how fluent the students were able to speak in both English and German while have meaningful conversations allowing him to give Browne one of the best notes he had ever received. 

At the age of nineteen, Browne was offered the position of principal at Melville Elementary School due to the grandiose note and recommendation by the inspector. He remained principal until he was twenty-five, when he decided it was time for him to go into McGill leaving education behind and diving into medicine. Three trustees of the school went in late June to offer Browne double, even triple his salary in order for him to stay. But he resigned, and went into McGill to take combined courses in 1916 until 1922, when he would graduate. 

Subsequently after Browne’s completion of medical school, he received a call from a Dr. Todd – who taught parasitology – interested in getting him a position at Harvard alongside Dr. Burt Wolbach, the professor of pathology at the Brigham. Todd managed to secure the position for Browne. But before going to Boston, Browne took a detour trip across the North Sea to Norway on a ship of the Hudson Bay Company to pick up 750 reindeer and relocate them in Baffin Land. 

After two years, Browne began to dip into pediatrics and went to the University of Michigan to teach it. It was arranged for Browne to go to Boston to intern at the Boston Children’s Hospital under Dr. Blackfan, and then he was sent to Ann Arbor as an assistant to Dr. Cowie. While up there, Browne began experiencing respiratory problems allowing him some time off to travel to Sun Valley. He got a job at a tourist hotel as the physician where he was able to meet Dr. Orville Harry Brown from Phoenix. Brown offered him a position down in Phoenix alongside him and Dr. W. L. Reid from Mayo Clinic to start a practice. 

Browne arrived in Phoenix on October 1, 1931. Dr. Reid, a partner of theirs, was caught in a tragic car accident where he lost his life leaving Browne to practice with Dr. O. H. Browne for a few years until Brown passed away. For fifteen years, Browne practiced in Phoenix at the Professional Building, later moving his office to Seventh Street and McDowell, then to 2021 N. Central with a Dr. Caniglia. Browne ventured into medical assistance when he wanted to establish a clinic in South Phoenix for children whose families wouldn’t be able to pay what it is they were asked of and a doctor that made religious house calls. He answered calls from mothers worried sick of what was wrong with their children and drive up to 12 miles to check up on them. 

Carrie McLeod Howson, one of Trevor G. Browne’s first patients recalls Browne as a man that practiced “tough love”. He was a man that made headlines. Browne got involved into what most normally wouldn’t dare, such as the teaching of sexual education. She says, “This was the kind of thinking that frequently had Docky in hot water with the school board and the public.” But he was a man to be trusted, Howson was raised to be wary of those around her, but Browne wasn’t a man that she doubted.  

While contemplating this idea of a clinic, Browne was a school physician for the Phoenix Elementary School District #1. At the same time, he was managing a building at Seventh St. and Monroe – called Social Service Center – where they offered everything from orthopedics to surgery to pediatrics. This location was donated by Mrs. Dwight B. Heard and was run with her help and the city for years until Ray Busey – the mayor at the time – decided along with the city attorney that the city would no longer be able to give proceedings for the upkeep of the center. It then closed due to Mrs. Heard not being able to manage the burden of the center on her own. 

Browne went down to see Emmett McLaughlin – the founder of St. Monica’s Hospital, or now Memorial Hospital. McLaughlin gave Browne a room and his permission to start a clinic, on his own. With the convincing of a few bodies, Browne managed to accumulate a fair amount of doctors that would devote their time to the well-being of those kids with limited resources. When he got the room, Browne focused on the building of a woman’s auxiliary.  Mrs. Neil McLeod, Carrie McLeod Howson’s mother, a close friend of Browne’s, committed much of her time to this auxiliary.  

In 1945, Browne ran for the school board because he thought he owed something to education. He devoted twenty-five years of his life to education and in 1954 and made a remarkable change in the history of education in Phoenix. He cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of desegregating all high schools part of the Phoenix Union District, along with eliminating the all-black high school, Carver. 

         Numerous tributes were given to Browne, one being the formation of the high school, Trevor G. Browne. It was opened 1972 on 7402 W. Catalina Drive. Prior to the opening of the high school, he was elected to the 50 Year Club in the Arizona State Medical Society along with the founders of the Urban League – now the Greater Phoenix Urban League – which Browne took part in. On Thursday March 17, 1977, Dr.  Browne passed away at the age of 85 leaving a long legacy of community service for those who surrounded him.                                                                

 

Compiled by Ms. Yaritza Flores, Class of 2015

Sources:

1972-1973 Yearbook Dedication

1975 Maricopa Cty Medical Assoc. Round-Up Magazine

1976 PUHSD Bicentennial Book Entry

1977 Obituary AZ Republic 19 March

1977 Obituary Phoenix Gazette 18 March

2015 Interview, Courtesy of Ms. Carrie McLeod Howson