George Brown and his Triumph TR6 were a fixture on the streets of Hempstead.
The dean of students at Hempstead High School spent many hours in the 1970s and 1980s driving around the community in search of students who skipped school. When he found them, his daughter Olga Young said, his message was simple:
"The education you need is at Hempstead High School and not on the streets."
Brown, who died last week, mentored about 15,000 students during a 30-year career in Hempstead and continued counseling youth after he retired in 1990, said Young, an assistant principal at the high school who works in her father's old office.
"He wasn't just a rock to our family," she said. "He was a rock to Hempstead."
Brown was found dead from unknown causes in his Hempstead home Friday. He had celebrated his 91st birthday on May 24.
A native of Savannah, Georgia, who grew up in the segregated South, Brown enlisted in the Marines after high school and fought in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he studied engineering at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he met his future wife, Dorothy Cole, a fellow student.
They married in 1948 and moved to New York after Brown taught and coached football in Shreveport, Louisiana. Dorothy Brown died in 1986.
George Brown became an industrial arts teacher in the Hempstead School District in 1962 and was promoted to dean of students eight years later. His family believes he was the first African-American dean on Long Island.
Young said her father formed a student group called the Esquires as an alternative to gangs. Brown recruited troubled youths for the Esquires "and helped them to know that they can excel," she said.
She remembered her father as a "fiercely independent" man who lived alone after his wife died. Young said when dates came to see her and her sister, they were met at the door by Brown, who was an imposing 6-foot-2. "We lost many a boyfriend," Young said.
In addition to Young, Brown is survived by daughter Bimini Hayes of West Hempstead; son Glen of Altadena, California; a sister, Irene Dunlap of Amityville; two granddaughters and four grandsons.
A viewing will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Carl C. Burnett Funeral Home in Hempstead. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale.