Heather Brown, born on March 2, 1979, left this world on September 26, 2023. After a protracted and valiant fight with breast cancer, Heather lost her fight and passed away, leaving her loved ones, friends, and coworkers grieving. She was a North Star, a brilliant light whose effect was felt well beyond her immediate sphere. Heather’s life served as a tribute to her commitment to her loved ones, her friends, and the cause of public service.
Heather showed maturity and determination far above her years from a young age. She achieved academic success and led the 1997 graduating class of Windham High School in salutatorian honours. Her skills, however, extended beyond the classroom. Heather was a legend on the soccer field, where she displayed determination and skill that left a lasting impression. Her journey continued as she earned a spot on a college soccer team as a walk-on freshman, a testament to her grit and passion for the sport.
Heather had skills outside of sports. She was a respected member of the renowned Windham Chamber Singers and a talented singer. This choir won the Prize of Vienna in Austria in 1996, gaining attention across the globe and demonstrating Heather’s commitment to her profession and her ability to excel in a competitive environment.
Due to her dedication to excellence, Heather attended Marietta College in Ohio on a scholarship. Here, she developed her communication abilities, which she later used heavily in her professional career and in her voluntary work as a mentor to young people. During her college years, Heather also joined the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, a community she remained devoted to long after graduation, underscoring her commitment to lifelong connections and friendships.
Heather’s journey in public service began when she moved to Long Island, New York, to manage a county-wide political campaign. It was here that she crossed paths with Seth, her future husband. Their love story led her to New York City, where she worked as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society while pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at CUNY-Baruch College. Her academic achievement was recognized with a prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship, catapulting her to Washington D.C.
In the nation’s capital, Heather’s dedication and tenacity saw her rise through the ranks to become the Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In this role, she worked tirelessly to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and enhance public health, leaving an indelible mark on the nation’s healthcare landscape.
After twelve impactful years in D.C., Heather and her family returned home to Maine, where she served as the Assistant City Manager in Portland. Her commitment to public service extended to her community, where she volunteered at her children’s schools and supported their sports teams. Heather’s dedication to making a difference was evident in every aspect of her life.
Heather’s devotion to her family was unwavering. She cherished her role as a mother and leaves behind her beloved children, Ezra and Abigail, and her incredible husband, Seth. Together, they enjoyed hiking, gardening, and cooking, creating lasting memories as a family.
In addition to her immediate family, Heather is survived by her loving parents, Carl and Carol Reagan of Windham, and her sisters Cortney and Ashley, along with their respective families. Her nieces and nephew, Finley, Marley, Reagan, and Brody, held a special place in her heart. Heather’s impact extended to her extended family, including her in-laws, Deborah and Wendy Brown, and her brother-in-law, Joshua. Her boatloads of friends, neighbors, and colleagues also held her in high regard.
Even in her final days, Heather remained selfless, ensuring everyone around her was comfortable and cared for. Her life was a testament to generosity and the power of uplifting words. Heather’s parting wish was that she be remembered with smiles and that others cherish moments of joy with their loved ones.
The Gosnell House received wonderful care for Heather during her final days, and the family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to them.
On Monday, October 2, at 1 pm, Congregation Bet Ha’am, located at 81 Westbrook St. in South Portland, will host memorial ceremonies to honour Heather’s extraordinary life. The family kindly requests that memorial contributions in Heather’s honour be donated to the Maine Cancer Foundation instead of flowers. These gifts will pay tribute to her legacy and carry on her battle against the illness that had such a profound impact on her life.
Heather Erin (Reagan) Brown’s journey on this earth may have ended, but her impact will live on in the hearts and minds of all those she touched. Her resilience, dedication, and love serve as a reminder to us all to cherish our loved ones, pursue our passions, and commit to making the world a better place through selfless service and boundless love. In Heather’s memory, let us heed her final wish and celebrate life with the people we hold dear, remembering the light she brought into our lives.