Peter Brown, a decorated Nassau County police officer who received high praise after rescuing residents from a burning house in North Merrick after a fatal car crash, died on September 11 in Plainview Hospital.
He was 73 years old and died of internal bleeding from an ulcer.
Brown, who spent 22 years in the department, had a flair for heroism – helping to pull a toddler out of a sump and removing the umbilical cord around the neck of a newborn baby he has helped to give birth.
Nassau’s Senior Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Smith said he and many other officers learned the ropes from Brown.
“He had the air of authority, the patience of a saint, and he was one of those people who, when you spoke to him, made you feel that what you were saying was of great importance,” Smith said. . . “And not everyone has this quality. In our business, it is an exceptional quality to have.”
Brown grew up in Massapequa, the eldest of four children of Geraldine Brown, a housewife, and William Brown, who worked for PC Richard.
After graduating from Plainedge High School in North Massapequa, Peter Brown immediately pursued a career in law enforcement, joining the Nassau County Police Department at the age of 18. He first served in Seaford’s Seventh Quarter before moving to Baldwin’s First Quarter, where he would spend most of his career.
In June 1979, Brown and a local fire chief managed to lift a 2-year-old from a sump containing toxic chemicals, family members said.
In 1984, the most dramatic moment in Brown’s career came when a teenage driver, who authorities said was accelerating in North Merrick and trying to escape the police, hit two cars and crashed into a garage.
The accident started a fire that cut a gas line and damaged a house on Meadowbrook Road and four vehicles nearby.
Brown, who was looking for the fleeing driver, safely evacuated the person from the burning automobile and then rescued residents of nearby homes that had caught on fire. The driver later died of his injuries.
Brown’s heroism, which left him with minor back burns, earned him a trip to Washington, DC, where he received the US Attorney General Distinguished Public Safety Award.
“This incident touched my father so much that he kept a photo of the teenager on his desk, which is still there today,” said Erinn Groh, 40, of Lake Ronkonkoma, the youngest of three children. Brown survivors.
Brown and his ex-wife moved to Ronkonkoma and had six children including Cathlin Hyland, 50, of Sayville; Ryan Brown, 43, of Southampton; and Groh. A son, Peter, was stillborn and twins James and Matthew were born prematurely at 5 months and did not survive.
Peter Brown then remarried Susan Feehan and helped raise his son, Jack Feehan, now 24, from Boston.
Feehan said he met Brown, who was also a talented carpenter, while he was doing work in his house. Their friendship eventually evolved and the couple were married for 14 years.
âThe years since have been happy, funny and rewarding, watching our family grow up gave Pete stories to tell which he did well,â said Feehan. “Pete was my go-to guy for everything. There was no situation he didn’t have the answer to. Pete was a true gentleman, kind and caring.”
Brown retired from the Nassau County Police Department in 1991 after suffering a back injury on the job.
A history buff who swallowed up information about President John F. Kennedy, Brown spent his retirement traveling, practicing photography and honing his carpentry skills.
âYou always knew he was there for you,â Hyland said. “If you ever needed anything you would call and he was there for you immediately. Everything has been abandoned for you.
A service for Brown took place on September 18 at Seaford. Interment took place at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Pinelawn.
Besides his wife, three children and a stepson, he is survived by his sisters Jayne Wynne, Geraldine Boalick and Patricia Spadaro; and four grandchildren.