Tributes and memories are pouring in for a former Vancouver city councillor and B.C. sports leader.
May Brown has died at the age of 99.
“Former TEAM Councillor May Brown was a force in civic life,” wrote Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Her passing offers us a chance to reflect on how to keep putting people at the centre of decision-making in our city.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote that Brown dedicated her life to public service “with kindness and passion,” and by “putting people first.”
B.C. Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson wrote that he had been honoured to work with her on political campaigns, describing her as “a great leader for Vancouver, a champion for youth, and a pioneer for women & equality.”
Brown was first elected to the Vancouver Park Board in 1972, driven to politics by the desire to improve the poor state of the city’s sports fields.
She later went on to serve a decade on city council, beginning in 1977.
She also dedicated much of her life to the B.C. sporting movement, and is the only woman to hold the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame‘s highest honour, the WAC Bennett Award, according to curator Jason Beck.
Brown taught physical education and UBC from 1947 until 1955, when she went on to complete a Masters of Physical Education, and was the first hired coach of the women’s field hockey team, laying foundations the university says persist to this day.
According to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, she also played a key role in developing synchronized swimming in the province, served on the National Advisory Council on Fitness and Amateur Sport that established the Canada Games, and played a role in the successful Vancouver referendum ahead of the 2010 Olympic Games.
For her many contributions, Brown was inducted into the Order of Canada, Order of B.C., B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, and UBC Sports Hall of Fame.