John Brown
John Brown

Obituary of John Harrison Brown



October 12, 1948 – February 12, 2021


John Brown died after a long struggle with cancer, courageously borne. He is survived by his beloved sons, Duncan Andrew Harrison and Elliott Albert Tredwell Brown (Polina Farber), their mother Denise Germaine, his partner Roslyn Eskind, her son Jesse and their Portuguese Water Dogs. 


Born in Toronto, John was the son of John Lesslie Brown and Susan Tredwell Brown. His dad, the youngest son of the Brown Brothers Bindery family of Toronto was a reverse remittance man, sent to England where he spent his time working in Harrod's model train department, attending weekend house parties, and developing his taste for bespoke tailoring. John’s mother was the daughter of G. Harrison Smith of New York City, sent to Canada to run Imperial Oil. She was a debutante and a gracious lady of tremendous style. John’s friends would often drop in just to visit with her.


John’s education was as eclectic as his career. He attended Rosedale Public School, spent years as a boarder at St. Andrew’s College where he excelled at track, hockey and cricket. With a demanding social schedule, John decamped back to Toronto, attending Meisterschaft College to finish high school. John started university, attending Notre Dame in Nelson B.C., drawn there by the lure of the national ski team that trained there. He assuaged his mother’s reluctance about him going out west, by claiming that Imperial Oil supported the school. That support turned out to be a vegetable endowment by the local Esso gas station. Although not an official part of the team, John enjoyed skiing and college life in that order, including memorably riding his motorcycle down a staircase, and travelling back and forth to Toronto in his Mustang. After two years, John and the Monseigneur mutually agreed to part ways and John enrolled at the University of Guelph, studying theatre arts in addition to his other courses. He then decided to study hospitality at George Brown College while intermittently travelling to Europe. One summer he was a ski and tennis teacher to kids scarcely younger than himself for Marty Glickman’s Ski and Tennis International program. With Gardnar Mulloy and Ernie McCulloch, John shepherded the kids through France, Italy and Switzerland. He then worked to support his passion for travel with extended trips to Australia, New Zealand, South America and back to Europe. Eventually, John found work in the wine and spirits industry. He was proud of his work with the then start-up, Inniskillin Winery in Niagara, and eventually he moved on to private wine agencies before deciding to sell real estate. Throughout his various careers, John had an abiding interest in the stock market and actively maintained a successful portfolio.


A talented athlete, John was a life-long member of the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. He was taken there by neighbours and soon he was wandering over on this own from his home nearby. It was suggested that he join and, because his parents weren’t members, sponsors were organized and he became a member at 11 years of age. John has been a regular ever since, and recently, he organized a program to recognize long-standing members at the Lawn.


John married Denise Germaine, and they were blessed with two sons, Duncan Andrew Harrison (1984) and Elliott Albert Tredwell (1986). He settled into being a devoted father and introduced his boys to tennis, skiing, the delights of overnight summer camp, and many trips were organized to enjoy their company and activities. In 1994, after he and his first wife had parted ways, John met Roslyn at the Toronto Lawn, and together with her son, Jesse, they continued travelling with memorable trips to Nassau and Quebec.


Both dog lovers, John had Maggie, a Heinz 57 shaggy terrier-type and Roslyn had Tasha, a Portuguese Water Dog. They established Seabury Portuguese Water Dogs, named for one of John’s ancestors, Seabury Tredwell, and began to breed champion dogs, travelling with them to shows in France, Mexico and all over North America. John was the chief strategist for their campaigns and Tikka, the foundation dam, was his special girl. A country property was purchased to give the dogs room to run, a pond was built to allow them to swim, and John had a beautiful garden to putter in. He enjoyed being a country gentleman. 


John was an inveterate collector of wine, port, painting and sculpture. He made friends wherever he went and without fail, would happen upon old connections and make new ones in the most unlikely places. John’s sweet, gentle and generous spirit will be missed from this world. 


Donations in his memory can be made to The Princess Margaret Hospital or The Hospital for Sick Children.  Condolences may be forwarded through