I didn't know Browning Marean as well as many others who wrote eloquent tributes about him upon his recent passing. I also didn't know him as long as many others; nevertheless, he influenced my life the same way they have described. I wanted to share a little bit of that with you.
I originally met Browning like many of us did - at a technology conference. He was doing one of his numerous talks and displayed his version of a map of the world that was simply hilarious.
I came up to him afterward, introduced myself and told him I wrote a little blog about eDiscovery and would he consider permitting me to post his map? You know the answer. I had a copy of it in my hands within a day or two. Here's both the post from July 2009 and the map:
Typical Browning. He seemed so...patrician, yet here he was with this off-color map. One thing was certain; Browning was an equal opportunity offender!
Around that time, I was appointed to the LPMT Executive Committee of the State Bar of California and met Robert Brownstone. As it turns out, he and Browning were good friends and next thing I knew, I was being included in a lot of other conferences; and eventually added to the faculty of one. After that, I saw Browning much more often...but I digress.
Approximately two years ago, I was at the state bar's annual meeting in Monterey and was chatting with someone at a reception when I felt a gentle, but firm grip on my shoulder. I turned around and there was Browning (he was not a 'tapper', you understand). In his booming 'on the air' voice, he said, "I just saw you there and wanted to say hello!" After a brief conversation he said, "We should do a presentation together." I was floored. Here was the Granddaddy of eDiscovery in California (perhaps the world) offering to do a program with me [I always called him, "The Father of eDiscovery" in public out of respect - "Granddaddy" made him seem too old.] I considered it carefully (a millisecond) and accepted with the notion that, knowing Browning's hectic schedule, he was probably being gracious and it would never happen.
I was wrong. It happened, and it's on video! He and I presented together at last year's Annual Meeting. What a privilege to share the stage with him. That was less than a year ago - and now he's gone. I can barely get my arms around it. With the next Annual Meeting coming up, all of the memories are flooding back. I'm trying to focus on the good ones these days.
That's all I wanted to say. I'll close with this: When we would have dinner or be at a reception, Browning always left early. That was his 'thing'. He was just one of those guys. Maybe he subscribed to the adage, "Never be the first to arrive at a party or the last to go home."
We wish - just this once - he'd made an exception.