The Indianapolis community gathered on Saturday with family, friends, and colleagues to celebrate the life of community leader and broadcaster–our own–Amos Brown.
Funerals often are sad occasions, particularly when a person is beloved or a person is ripped away suddenly without warning, as was the case on both fronts with the late-host of the popular Afternoons With Amos talk show, which aired for many years in Indianapolis on Radio One station, AM-1310 “The Light”. Brown died suddenly after suffering an apparent heart attack while visiting family in Chicago on Friday, November 6. He was at his parent’s home. Brown was 64.
Brown’s sudden death left most in shock, adding to the sadness. However, when a person lives life “big and vibrantly,” a somber occasion rarely stays that way. Dignitaries, ranging from Indiana’s Governor, Mike Pence -to- U.S. Representative Andre Carson -to- former Indianapolis mayors Steve Goldsmith and Bart Peterson, addressed the crowd and spoke of their respect for Brown, his work of service to the community. Some spoke of their moments where they may not have agreed with how Brown through his show and his column “Just Tellin’ It,” which appeared weekly in The Indianapolis Recorder asked tough questions, had opposite viewpoints and in his own way held them accountable. They spoke of him fondly, with respect and even friendship–bringing lighthearted moments into the darkness of the loss to the community.
Also, speaking of Brown’s unique way was Indianapolis Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett who in the sincerest of ways spoke about his friend and his last column that was mainly directed at himself with advice on his new post. In that column Hogsett made sure to acknowledge that Brown made note that he dodged his questions in the last mayoral debate before the 2015 municipal elections. Hogsett ‘stole the show’ with his reminder of how Brown would call out the AM station’s phone number to get listeners to call-in and contribute to the show with a question or comment. He shouted, to the delight of many, “239-1310, 239-1310!” The sadness continued to fade away as the Director of the Marion County Public Health Department, Dr. Virginia Caine, reminded everyone of Brown’s impact on the community’s health–raising awareness of issues where the county and the city were leading the nation in infant mortality and syphilis infection–both situations that Brown helped to rally a community to address and issues that were over time significantly decreased. However, Caine in a more light-hearted moment let the fellas who had spoken before her know that of all of them and their relationships on and off mic with the broadcaster, “Amos liked me best.” Caine said it with a delicate smile that made attendees clap and roar.
Brown’s “Celebration of Life Service” was held at Light of the World Christian Church where the senior pastor, is Reverend David Hampton. Hampton officiated the three-and-a-half hour service, attended by hundreds and viewed by thousands at home on various live streams provided by Brown’s local stations, local television stations and the host church. Thousands more passed through the sanctuary at Friday’s six-hour visitation and an hour before the funeral began on Saturday morning.
Linked below are some audio clips of the more personal remembrances for the Indiana Hall of Fame broadcaster that many just called ‘Famous Amos.” Listen to hear how many–colleagues and family alike–were touched by him daily. Hear from his current boss, Chuck Williams, Radio One-Indianapolis Vice-President/General Manager; legendary former WTLC Radio programmer and air personality, Jay Johnson; Brown’s sister, Oveda Brown; his mentee and close friend, journalist/businesswoman, Sherma Wise-Thomas; and his beloved granddaughter Aar-Yana Willis (if you saw Amos out in the community, often times you saw ‘Babygirl’ right along with him.) Finally, listen to Amos’ eulogy. Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin, Pastor Emeritus of Light of the World Christian Church, eulogized the community servant broadcaster in grand fashion challenging a community left to carry on.
Colleagues of Amos shared their experience with the broadcasting legend who was also known as a “great agitator.” Click media player to listen:
Amos’ family spoke of their love for him, his impact and the charge upon the city’s journalists and media to serve. Click media player to listen:
Pastor Emeritus of Light of the World Christian Church, Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin delivered Amos’ eulogy. Click media player to listen:
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