Phillip Brown IV

Obituary & Livestream

Phillip Dudley Brown IV of Shinnecock Nation was born on September 11, 1943, in Southampton, NY. Phil was the oldest son born to the late Harriett “Princess Starleaf” (nee Crippen) Brown Gumbs and her first husband U.S. Airman Phillip D. Brown III of Silver Lake Croton. Phil lived with his mother at 169th Street in the Bronx until the age of five when his father, deployed to the Philippines in 1944, was reported missing in action. Phil was well known as a selflessness and caring man who effortlessly showed love toward others. Many called him “Brother Phil” or “Big Phil” once he became a father. His Indian name, given to him by his mother, was “Little Bear.” However, his reputation for fearlessly confronting anyone who dared to injure or disrespect his family or friends earned him the nickname “Cochise” amongst his peers. Later in life, Phil proclaimed himself “Windspirit,” because he felt like a free spirit guided by the wind; this name would also represent his devout connection with the Creator. Phil attended Southampton Public Schools from first to 11th grade, when he was placed into remedial classes, and told he was too dumb to graduate. Determined for her son to graduate, in 1960 Phil’s mother moved with him to Greenwich Connecticut where Phil transferred to the local high school, which ranked #25 in the country. Upon completing his entry exams, Phil was offered the opportunity to skip History and English because he scored 98 and higher. In addition, the accounting teacher would often ask Phil to monitor and instruct class in his absence. While Phil was benched to second string lineman at Southampton High School, despite the fact that, as a speedy, 180lb running back, he would single-handedly dominate the team’s first string in scrimmages; his football career thrived at Greenwich High School where he became star running back under Coach Sam Rutigliano, (head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1978 to 1984). On his first day of football practice, the coach asked Phil to show him what he could do as on the field. The ball snapped and Phil received the handoff. He stepped behind the huge lineman, cut back across the field, and sprinted for a touchdown. Coach Rutigliano pointed to the linemen and said “You’re supposed to follow the big guys and they will make a way for you.” Phil’s response was, “I was going to, but I saw everyone else going that way. So I went the other way.” Likewise was Phil’s strategy for making his way across the grain of life. Phil graduated from Greenwich High School in 1961. After high school Phil enlisted in the United States Airforce but was discharged a short time after, due to medical reasons. Phil then returned to Greenwich where he had been courting Carolyn L. Morton, a local girl from high school whom he called “Kay.” On July 25, 1962, the couple married and moved to Shinnecock. Phil’s work ethic was instilled in him at a young age by his grandmother, Harriet Ruben (nee Lee) Crippen. He took great pride in everything he put his hands on; be it ground maintenance, masonry, cooking, or art. Phil began working, at age 12, for the Shinnecock Golf Course and by age 18 he earned a full wage at Southampton Lumber Yard. His cousin Ferdinand “Dickey” Lee recruited him to work for Bill Darby, in Southampton, where Phil perfected his craft alongside some of the best masons in town. However, after being called “boy” one too many times by his supervisor, Phil decided that he no longer wanted to work for anyone paler than himself and so he decided to go into business on his own. Phil’s masonry incorporated outdoor designs that are embedded throughout the landscapes of estates from Montauk to Manhattan, Westchester to New Jersey shores and across New England. He designed multiple elaborate chimneys on Dune Road and worked on houses as well as commercial and public buildings. The northeast wing of Southampton Fire Department Annex and the enormous stone wall that adorns Southampton Brick and Tile are both Phil’s work. However, some of Phil’s most creative work can be found on Shinnecock. His signature design combines our local water life, set in a brick and cement tapestry, to include driftwood and seaweed, which express Shinnecock’s cultural identity as People of the Shores. Phil’s natural creativity and talent was displayed in not only his chosen profession of master stone masonry, but also in his ability to transform a piece of driftwood into a beautiful lamp, or a tree limb into a walking stick or cane. He also worked with his friend, Harry Wallace, to make unique wampum and other stone jewelry, which he sold at pow wow. No two pieces were ever the same. As a youth and into his teenage years, Phil had the privilege of accompanying his mother on her many historian, cultural and tribal activist milestones. When his mother challenged Great Cove Realty’s encroachment on Shinnecock Territory, Phil rode shotgun in their Rocket 88 Oldsmobile helping her to get petition signatures. He and his mother also belonged to one of the first intertribal Native American dance troupes, which included members from Cape Cod and Narragansett tribes. They performed at local colleges and universities up and down the coast. Like his mother, Phil used every moment as a teaching moment to pass along historical and cultural knowledge to his own children. He was eager to share his talents and traditional skills with anyone who cared to listen and receive the wisdom he had to offer. When National Geographic journalists came to interview Phil’s mother for an article about pollution and the New England Bite, Phil took the reporters through the entire process of fishing, clamming, and hunting and then cooked the meal in the old way. His exhibition of how Shinnecock people survived off the land for centuries inspired the journalist to author the book Wisdom Keepers. Phil’s professional skills crossed into culinary genius. When Phil initially returned from Connecticut with his wife, Carolyn the couple opened an eatery at his mother’s established Montauk Highway business, Shinnecock Indian Outpost. The eatery became known for its NY City inspired hot dogs and Shinnecock clam chowder, which had tourists and locals alike lined up from Manhattan to Montauk. The business became so popular that, ultimately, local competitors conspired to shut it down. Phil’s catering career later included a number of native clambake parties for Martyrs and A&E Entertainment, which hosted events in Montauk and Central Park. During the summer of 1985, Mayor Hattrick and Ronnie Cane made a provision for Phil to run the Coopers on the Beach pavilion, where he was joined by his oldest son, Phillip D. Brown V. Former Mets owner, Fred Wilpon, was a regular who would often sneak Shinnecock fries, not on his dietary plan. However, Phil’s most epic culinary endeavor was co-founding the family-run Clam Stand, which has been a popular draw at the Shinnecock Nation Pow Wow for over 50 years. A devoted son, father, grandfather, companion, and friend, etc., Phil loved God, his family and his Shinnecock people deeply, in that order, even when the love was not returned. Phil always sought to empower Shinnecock people first, whether he was teaching a trade or providing work opportunities. As a result, Phil was known to many as a mentor and confidant. Phil resided in Croton on Hudson for more than 35 years where he was valued as a steadfast friend to a number of folks there and in surrounding areas. He was an avid member of Mt. Lebanon Baptist church in Peekskill, NY, where he often donated his time as a handyman. In addition to his love for Shinnecock Bay and the mighty Atlantic Ocean—preferably from the view at Coopers Beach—Phil had an undeniable affection for the Hudson River. According to family, Phil said his walks along the Hudson River were spiritual and brought him closer to the Great Spirit. Also, the Hudson River trails revealed many beautiful pieces of driftwood that inspired his countless works of art. Phil and his mother were close. He was an only child for the first 17 years of his life. When his mother was moved into hospice, Phil did everything he could to transfer his rehabilitation back to the East End to be closer. No distance, time or even death could break their bond. Family recalls that Phil once stated, when his mother and beloved Aunt Florence Crippen were gone from this earth, his time here would be no more. On Saturday, December 19, Phil kept his promise as he departed from this world at the age of 77. No matter what you called him, Little Bear, Brother Phil, Big Phil, Cochise, or Windspirit; one thing for sure is that Phil was a complex, multi-faceted man of many treasures. Perhaps the most profound was his ability to make people laugh, even through the most unfortunate circumstances. Phil never met a person he did not say hello to and mean it; and he also never used the word goodbye, instead he would sign off with “see you later” or “so long.” In addition to his parents, three aunts and six uncles, Phil was predeceased by a daughter, Paulette H. Brown, a son, Marco Liubenov Sr., and a dear nephew, NaKea L. Perry. Phil is survived by his life partner of 47 years Lutizia Liubenov and former wife Carolyn Gumbs; two brothers, Launcelot A. Gumbs II and Edward A. Gumbs; five sons, Phillip D. Brown V and his wife Michelle, Preston W. Brown and his wife Daphne, Curtis Terry and his wife Migdalia, Guy Reddick, Peter Liubenov and the baby of the bunch, his love bug Marco Liubenov Jr. and his wife Allie; a daughter; a daughter-in-law Jamie Catala; eight granddaughters, five grandsons, four great-granddaughters and eight great-grandsons; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Paulette H. Brown Memorial Scholarship may be sent to Southampton School District Office, 70 Leland Lane, Southampton, NY 11968.
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Saturday
26
December

Viewing

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, December 26, 2020
Southampton Full Gospel Church
130 County Road 39
Southampton, New York, United States
Saturday
26
December

Reflections

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Saturday, December 26, 2020
Southampton Full Gospel Church
130 County Road 39
Southampton, New York, United States
Saturday
26
December

Funeral Service

1:00 pm
Saturday, December 26, 2020
Southampton Full Gospel Church
County Road 39
Southampton, New York, United States