Gary “Corky” Brown died peacefully in his sleep on January 24, 2024, at the age of 75. He grew up in Oakland, California, attended Chico State, graduated from the University of California, Davis, and lived nearly all of his adult life in Davis. He worked with the UCD Police Department where he was known as “Peace Officer Corky.” As a Community Relations Officer, he reached out to provide education and support for the Davis youth. He then decided to pursue his lifelong goal of teaching. He enjoyed a rewarding career as a high school and middle school teacher in the Fairfield-Suisun School District. There, he was renowned for his enthusiasm, humor and positive connections with his students and staff.
A man of endless talents and energy, he will be remembered by his devotion to multiple interests. He had a passion for real estate, working as a realtor and contractor. He was able to help build his own home, and he found fulfillment by helping others to become homeowners. He was interested in politics from a young age and became active in the Davis Democratic Club and Davis Odd Fellows, and he served two terms on the City of Davis Planning Commission. Corky always stressed the importance of giving back to his community. He was devoted to helping those suffering from mental illness and the causes of Yolo Community Care Continuum (YCCC) and Pine Tree Gardens (NAMI Yolo County), where he helped provide housing and work for those in need.
Corky will always be remembered as the funniest man in the room. He used those talents to perform as a stand-up comic and taught comedy traffic school. Corky once appeared on an episode of “Win Ben Stein’s Money.” It was his two favorite things, knowledge, and humor, where he excelled at both. Corky proceeded to get every question wrong and was eliminated first. But, the producers of the show thought Corky was so funny, that they brought him back to co-host the rest of the episode with Jimmy Kimmel.
Corky maintained an unwavering love and devotion for his family. Corky and his long-time partner, Judith Ann Wilkin, would frequent the Davis dog parks with their poodles. A gifted photographer, he could usually be found on the sidelines taking photos at his sons’ school events, sports, and musical concerts. Corky would swell up with pride whenever he would talk about his boys. Corky had the honor of pinning the badge on his son’s chest when Jeremy became a Davis Fire Fighter in the city he loved so much. Corky always loved and admired the wives of his sons, Tara and Katie. Most of all, Corky loved his grandchildren, Maddie, Monroe, Jack, and Mia. He could see his legacy through his grandchildren, and that gave him peace of mind. Corky shares the same birthday as his granddaughter Monroe, and he always felt deeply connected to her.
Corky was blessed with a brilliant mind. Always an avid reader and a scholar in history and politics, he maintained his intense intellect through his enduring pursuit of knowledge. He still had a sharp memory, even up to the end of his life. More importantly, he was a great and accomplished man with a beautiful and generous soul. He kept his sense of optimism through good times and bad. His spirit and kindness will be carried on by his family and by so many in the Davis community who knew and loved him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Lois Brown. Corky is survived by and will always be remembered with love by his partner, Judith Ann Wilkin; his sons, Jeremy Brown and his wife Tara, and Kyle Brown and his wife Katie; his sons’ mother Christy Brown and her husband Albert Vasquez; his grandchildren, Maddie, Monroe, Jack, and Mia; his brother, Christopher Brown and his wife Susan; his sister, Noni Verbiscar-Brown and her husband Peter; and his extended family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Corky’s memory to an organization serving the needs of those suffering from mental illness or hunger, such as YCCC, NAMI, Yolo Food Bank, or DCMH. A service and celebration of Corky’s life will be determined at a later date.