OB Historical Society Presents: LoVerne Brown, Poet and Activist

by on July 17, 2012 · 2 comments

in Culture, History, Ocean Beach

The Ocean Beach Historical Society Presents:


O. B. Poet, Activist, Beloved Friend

Thurs., July 19th, at 7 PM

At P.L. United Methodist Church, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B.

The Ocean Beach Historical Society is honored to present our July program featuring friends and family who will talk about the achievement of LoVerne Brown and the important part she played in Ocean Beach’s history.

LoVerne Brown, was born in North Dakota in 1912. Prior to coming to O.B. she led a somewhat nomadic life. In 1950, LoVerne’s husband, George Brown (employed by the federal government) was transferred to San Diego. They and their children- Tony, Jonnie, and Tim – chose beautiful O.B. as their new home. Sadly in 1952, George died of a heart attack, and LoVerne became the family breadwinner, working for the next 22 years in the City of San Diego Engineering Dept.

From 1950-2000, LoVerne was active in the O.B. community, especially following her retirement in 1974. She was co-founder of the Ocean Beach Community School in 1976 (as well as the school’s poetry teacher); a longtime member and officer of the O. B. Friends of the Library and the O. B. – Point Loma chapter of the National League of American Penwomen; founder of the Ocean Beach Poetry Circle, which for years published the annual anthology “Zip Code 92107”; and a founding member of the Ocean Beach Historical Society. She was known for her generous spirit, her inclusive nature, and her unconditional love for her fellow human beings. A lifelong Democrat, she was active on the political scene and supported numerous social justice causes, especially those that benefited the homeless and victims of abuse.

By the late 1970s LoVerne, who was getting her second wind as a writer, especially as a poet, began responding to requests to do poetry readings throughout the city. And when it comes to community schools, LoVerne literally wrote the book on it. With co-authors Katie Elsbree and Denny Doyle, she penned The Grass Roots Alternative: A Citizens’ Approach to Community Education, a 1977 publication based largely on the authors’ experiences in founding the Ocean Beach Community School a year earlier.

Multi-talented LoVerne had many friends who were happy to ensure that her poetry was available to everyone. (Much of her early serious work was published in poetry journals, which had limited audiences of mostly other poets.) In 1983, LoVerne’s friend Steve Kowit, published a collection of her work (The View from the End of the Pier) as a 71st birthday present to her. This volume sold out quickly and is now a collector’s item.

Two more collections followed: Gathering Wine Grapes at the Hollywood Hilton (1986) and The Under Side of Snow (1996). In 1999, 87-year-old, LoVerne Brown was honored with the Local Author Lifetime Achievement Award (LOLA), an annual award given by the San Diego Public Library to a local author for his or her body of work.

LoVerne never left her beloved O.B. Now, she continues to be a part of O.B.s history.


Visit the OBHS Blog for info. or to tell your favorite OB stories, facts & memories:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin July 19, 2012 at 5:08 am

That’s my grandma! Thanks for running the article AND hope to see you all this evening!


Mary Kelley August 1, 2017 at 5:05 pm

I just found this site at this late date (1 Aug. 2017)

LoVerne was a good friend to me & my family for several years. She helped me greatly with my job in the City of San Diego, Eng. Dept./Property Div. We miss her.


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