David Halbe Brown

David Halbe Brown, 76, a former resident of Frost Valley YMCA in Denning, died on September 13, 2012 after a lengthy illness.

He was born on February 26, 1936 in Youngstown, Ohio, to Reverend Thomas and Helene (Halbe) Brown. He grew up with six siblings and maintained strong connections to them and their families throughout his life. He was actively involved with the Youngstown YMCA as a youth and young adult. He graduated from Youngstown State University and began a career with the YMCA that spanned nearly a half-century.

For most of his life, he was known as “Halbe.” Halbe married Jane Ann Norris of Youngstown, Ohio on March 14, 1958. In 1966, they moved to the Catskill Mountains in New York, where he served as executive director of the Frost Valley YMCA for 35 years. Halbe was an inspirational and visionary director, and under his leadership, the Frost Valley YMCA grew from a small summer camp to a year-round camp and conference center which is recognized as a national and international leader in the camping industry.

Frost Valley is known for its innovative programs and partnerships, including a longstanding partnership with the Tokyo YMCA. Halbe was dedicated to the YMCA ideals of developing a healthy body, mind, and spirit in every camper, counselor, and family who came to Frost Valley. Over the decades, he mentored numerous YMCA executives, including son, Jim, of Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA, in Becket, Massachusetts. In 2003, Halbe was inducted into the national YMCA Hall of Fame.
Halbe was an active member of the Claryville Reformed Church in Claryville and the Barre Congregational Church (UCC) in Barre, Vermont. In 2001, he retired to South Barre, Vermont, where he and Jane delighted in hosting family gatherings including grandchildren Ellie, Kai, Laura, Becca, Grace, Hana, Halbe, Sarah, Sam, Alex, Laura, Ben, and Isabel. In 2009, they moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, to be closer to their children and siblings.

Halbe was a strong believer in the inherent goodness of all humanity, and he lived a life of generosity, humility, and altruism. He will be remembered for his unselfish dedication to his family, community, church, and the YMCA.

His wife of 54 years, Jane, survives him. He is also survived by children Jeffrey David (Wendy) of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming; William Thomas (Katherine) of Canton, James Norris (Fumiko) of Westhampton, Massachusetts, David Halbe (Diane) of Denali National Park, Alaska and Jennifer Lynn Bickart of Elmore, Vermont; 13 grandchildren; 11 nephews and nieces; and siblings Virginia (Richard) Gamble of Youngstown, Ohio; Thomas (Lynn) Brown of Old Greenwich, Connecticut; Helene Sano of Alliance, Ohio; Mary Ellen (William) Webster of Northborough, Massachusetts; Paul Brown of Claryville, New York; and Paula (Thomas) Holland of Duxbury, Massachusetts.

He was predeceased by his parents Thomas and Helene Brown, son-in-law Jeffrey Bickart, brother-in-law David Sano, nephew David Sano, and nephew Thomas Sano. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 14, at Frost Valley YMCA in Claryville.

Friends and family can honor Halbe’s life through gifts to the “Halbe Brown Memorial Fund” at the Frost Valley YMCA.
New England Funeral & Cremation Center, LLC 25 Mill Street, Springfield, MA 01108 has been entrusted with the arrangements. For full details visit www.nefcc .net.