Editor's Note: Architect Kenneth (Kenny) M. Brown, 52, died Nov. 26 after a long battle with injuries sustained in a Sept. 23 cross-country motorcycle accident in San Antonio. He is remembered here by his longtime friend and colleague David Lake. A Celebration of Life will be held Monday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m. at The Marquardt Ranch, 238 Marquardt Rd., Boerne, TX, 78006. The Rivard Report welcomes memorial tributes to San Antonians who have passed away. Click here for submission guidelines. There is no charge for this service.
Kenny Brown, a dear friend and member of the Lake|Flato family, left the firm in 2010 to open his dream scuba shop in the Florida Keys. He never made it past the outer loop (actually Tobin Smith and Jimmy Truax corralled him at the city limits).
Kenny recently passed away due to injuries he sustained in a tragic motorcycle accident in September.
Kenny joined Lake|Flato shortly after our founding and worked with the firm for 20 years. He was a unique and memorable part of the LF family. Instrumental in the early development of the firm, Kenny’s presence substantially contributed to the growth of Lake|Flato’s office.
While working on some of the firm’s founding projects, Kenny was a key team member on many notable LF works such as the Witte Treehouse, Agudas Achim Synagogue, Burlington Northern railroad corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, AT&T Center (Spurs Arena), Garden of the Gods Clubhouse and Hotel in Colorado Springs, University of Texas Executive Education Center at UT-Austin, and many more.
Kenny was instrumental in coordinating the firm’s transition from old school drawing and documentation techniques toward embracing the complex world of computer-generated drawings.
Kenny’s jubilant presence was felt by all around him. He demonstrated charismatic character and abundant physical strength. An original part of Ted Flato’s set-up crew for the annual Flake|Lato retreat, Kenny helped pave the way for the fun and timeless tradition still enjoyed by generations of LFers today. In addition to a great friend and talented architect, Kenny was also a tremendous athlete, cyclist, fisherman, dog lover, motorcyclist, and soccer player.
"I have many fond memories of Kenny, but in particular I remember the furious and fierce basketball contests between Kenny and David Lake when all of us sat on the second floor," said Matt Morris, one of the firm's partners. "Many a model, cup of coffee, and anything on one’s desk were at the mercy of their heated games.
"I also remember going to an NBA playoff game with Kenny, he with his perfectly shaved head, bulging biceps and tattoos, and me in jeans, a button down shirt and a sport coat," Morris added. "During the course of the game, Kenny looked at me and said, 'Now this is what I call an odd couple.'”
(Matt Morris posted his own tribute to Kenny on The Dogrun, the Lake|Flato blog)
You never forgot that first time when you met Kenny. He was (and still is) a force. Powered by his physical presence, a big guy with that perfectly shaved head, with the agility and grace of an athlete. And no nonsense, especially when a detail was to be drawn and a deadline to be met.
But then there was the soft side of Kenny: Thoughtful. Fun. Out for a good time.
And yes, we enjoyed games, especially in the office – the Kenny and David basketball games were a sustained collision. What I know is that for every basket I rarely made, Kenny made me pay in bruises and crushed models.
No one worked (or played) harder and with greater intensity than Kenny.
Kenny and Robert Trinidad propelled Lake|Flato into the uncertain land of CAD. Without them both pushing, we would still be erasing penciled sheets of drawings. Kenny did not suffer fools, but then he was always there if you needed him.
There are so many stories in which Kenny was the fulcrum or the focus. I’ve been asked to pick one and I can’t. It’s too hard.
Losing such a talented and loving force field of a man.
On Sunday, I don’t know why,
but when I saw a shiny penny, I stopped.
And thought of Kenny.
When I stooped to pick it up,
Lincoln had a shaved head.
And damn, both Honest Abe and Kenny shared some bad luck.
But Kenny’s head will forever be the shiniest.
Kenny’s impact has had and will continue to have a lasting legacy on Lake|Flato’s work and culture. All who knew Kenny have been forever touched by his remarkable strength in both body and spirit. Kenny Brown, we can speak for all who knew you when we say that we will never forget you or your impact on our lives and on our office. Rest in Peace my friend.
– Your Lake|Flato Family