SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Give her an opportunity to give back, and Judy Brown would seize it.
The two-term member of City Council was a fervent volunteer in addition to being a business owner, mother, wife and grandmother. She died Saturday in Reno at the age of 72.
South Lake Tahoe city flags are flying half-mast through Friday, Dec. 14, in honor of her dedicated service to the city, which spanned more than two decades.
Her tenure on City Council came at a time of great change that was not free of contentious issues and debates.
"She was definitely a collaborator," said Mayor Brooke Laine, whose first year on council came when Brown was mayor.
At the time, the city was navigating complicated development issues, including what was then known as the Park Avenue Redevelopment Project, which led to the creation of Heavenly Village.
As Laine noted, redevelopment issues require a super-majority vote — meaning a minimum of four out five councilors must vote in favor.
"We had to deal with some very difficult decisions and she was one of those people that was diligent about making sure that everybody had a piece."
Part of that ability, said former Councilor Tom Davis, came from her inherent kindness.
"Never ever heard a harsh word from her. (She) always looked for compromise," said Davis, who also served on council with Brown.
Along with her time on council, Brown served over a decade on the South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission, bringing leadership and knowledge that was unparalleled.
"Her passing will be felt greatly," Laine said.
Brown's involvement with the city, however, was just one aspect of her life.
She and her husband, Alan, owned and operated Tahoe Manor for more than 20 years. Running the residential care facility was a full-time job, Brown told the Tribune in 2004.
"I've never spent a Thanksgiving or Christmas at home," she said at the time.
Despite the demands and the challenges, the experiences and relationships made the job worth doing.
Always looking to help those in need, the Browns opened Tahoe Manor to displaced seniors in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Brown also loved animals, which fueled her nearly two-decade-long involvement with the Lake Tahoe Humane Society.
A fundraising effort is underway to help pay for medical expenses. Visit bit.ly/JudyBrown to donate.