OKLAHOMA CITY — Former Oklahoma City manager Donald D. Bown passed away on November 17 at the age of 82. Bown, known for his humor, quick wit and frankness, was city manager from 1991 to 1998.
While retired, he served as chairman of the Oklahoma City Airport Trust.
In his seven years as city manager, Bown led the city through the highs and lows of the ‘90s, including Oklahoma City’s darkest hours, the Murrah Federal Building bombing.
“Don was city manager during a very critical time in Oklahoma City history that included the passage of two bond issues, the implementation of MAPS 1 and the tragic Murrah bombing. His steady hand at the helm along with his ever present warmth and humor helped the community though those trying times,” City Manager Jim Couch said.
Bown was appointed city manager after having served the prior 14 years as the City’s General Services Director and Finance Director. Prior to Oklahoma City, he was the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Crime Commission and had been City Manager of Bartlesville and Seminole. He began his career as an assistant city manager in Springfield, Missouri.
Assistant City Manager Laura Johnson who worked with Bown for many years saw him not only as her boss but as a mentor. “His wisdom about the relationship and roles of elected officials and professional staff in a City Manager form of government still serves the City well.”
Bown was a dedicated public servant whose legacy not only impacted Oklahoma City but the state as well.
He held the unique distinction of having been president of four statewide municipal organizations:
• Oklahoma Municipal League
• City Management Association of Oklahoma
• Clerks, Treasurers and Finance Officers Association of Oklahoma
• Government Finance Officers Association of Oklahoma
He also served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regional Councils; was Regional Vice President for the International City/County Management Association and inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2004.