She was an original, and did everything with flair and a style that was as unique as her personality.
June Brown Garner, one of the most important figures in the history of the Michigan Chronicle, died on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in New Haven, Michigan, following a lengthy illness, according to her daughter, Sylvia Mustonen. She was 88.
Detroit-born June Brown, who graduated from Northwestern High School and then attended Wayne State University, began her long and illustrious career at the Michigan Chronicle.
For many years she was manager of Classifieds, the department she literally built from scratch. She made an impact that still resonates to this day.
Brown was also known for a gossip column called “Other People’s Business.” Nestled in the middle of the classifieds, the column was must reading for thousands of Detroiters. She never used names, but gave broad, often hilarious hints. In later years the column combined the gossip with important news and opinions designed to benefit the Black community.
The column was so popular that it caught the attention of the Detroit News. She subsequently wrote a column there that ran several times a week. She also had a TV show that aired weekly on WDIV/Channel 4. On the program she interviewed civic leaders, educators, religious figures and others. Prior to that, she hosted a more entertainment oriented show on another station called “June Brown’s Apartment.”
June Brown and her husband, the late realtor Warren C. Garner, owned the G-2 Ranch, located in Holly, Michigan. There was horseback riding, picnics and much more.
She also created an organization called Bachelor Book, through which single adults could meet other singles. That was in addition to teaching a weight loss and weight maintenance class.
After leaving the Detroit News, June Brown Garner began writing a compendium to the Let’s Read book series called “June Brown’s Guide to Let’s Read.”
At one point, she again became a weekly columnist for the Michigan Chronicle.
In 1996, June Brown Garner and Warren C. Garner retired and moved to Tazewell, Virginia. Following her husband’s passing in 1997, she continued to live in Tazewell. In 2003 she returned to Michigan to be close to her family.
June Brown was unflinchingly honest, creative, tenacious, fun, well-informed, fearless, ambitious, a shrewd businesswoman and, yes, sometimes outrageous.
A private memorial service was held.