Parkinson’s patient helped battle the disease

Published January 29, 2021

MELROSE — Joel G. Brown, a resident of Atria Longmeadow Place in Burlington and formerly of both Topsfield and Melrose, passed away peacefully at Sawtelle Family Hospice House on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Joel was born in Hackensack, N.J., on June 14 1950, one of four children of Martin and Janet Brown.

He graduated from Ridgewood High School in New Jersey and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University (including a year of international studies at the University of Vienna, Austria). Additionally, Joel earned his Master of Regional Planning degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He spent most of his career doing impactful work on a wide variety of projects in the environmental and emergency preparedness field.

After being diagnosed at a young age with Parkinson’s Disease, Joel devoted many years of service to organizations including the Young Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of Greater Boston and the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA).

Joel had a tremendous love for adventure, the outdoors and photography. Both prior to and well into his Parkinson’s diagnosis Joel was an avid traveler. This passion, which he shared with his family, took Joel and his companions all over the globe. And it’s through those experiences, and the hundreds of fond memories they created, that those who knew and loved Joel choose to remember him as a person.

Joel was predeceased by his father Martin Brown and his sister Nancy Brown.

Joel is survived by his mother Janet Brown of Topsfield; two sons, Kurt Brown and his wife Laura of Melrose, and Russell Brown and his fiancee Megan Swanson of Wilmington; and his siblings, Jack Brown of New York, N.Y., and Leslie Brown-Velaquez of Medford. He also leaves behind his longtime partner, Dr. Laurie Pant of Burlington; a loving niece, Molly Velaquez-Brown; and his grandchildren, Davis, Sawyer and Oliver Brown.

In honor of Joel and all the individuals and families battling Parkinson’s please consider a donation to the American Parkinson Disease Association MA Chapter,, 72 East Concord St., Rm C3, Boston, MA 02118.

Services to honor and remember Joel will be held privately. To offer your words of love and support to the Brown family, visit