Death of Tom Browne the Whistler

by Laurel | January 4th, 2012

04 January 1907

Thomas Francis Brown, 41, who died in St. Charles hospital at Yonkers, NY Wednesday afternoon after a long illness with heart trouble was well known all over America. Especially at his former home in Holyoke did the news of his death come as a shock to a wide circle of friends who had followed his career with interest. Word had been received in the city some weeks ago of his failing health, and later word that he was recovering had caused his friends to hope that he would again be able to take up his work. Mr. Browne was born in Adams 42 years ago, and went to Holyoke when Young. He was educated in the Holyoke public schools, and after graduation took a course in Hinman’s commercial school in Springfield, after which he obtained employment as bookkeeper for the Holyoke Furniture company, remaining with them for about 10 years. His accomplishment of whistling was so out of the ordinary that it attracted much attention and in 1892 he decided to try the stage and began his long career with Byrne Brothers in “Eight Bells.” After having been with the company for a year, following an introduction given him by J. B. Carroll of Springfield to Patrick Collins of Boston, at that time consul-general to Great Britain, he was engaged by Col. Mapleson for a tour in England and Europe. On this trip he whistled before the present King of England, at that time the Prince of Wales. Subsequently in his career he visited different parts of Europe, having spent some time in Germany, France and Switzerland. On his return from this trip he entered the “Zig Zag” Company, following which he was with booth Peter and Dan Daly. He was in the “Trip to Chinatown” company when they made their record-breaking run in the Madison Square Theater in New york, He visited Australia, and for the past few years had been engaged principally in vaudeville. His first wife was Edith M. Hoyt, whom he married in Holyoke. His second wife, who survives him, was Miss Eva Westcott, who was in vaudeville at the time of the marriage. He leaves also five brothers, Michael C., Joseph G., the cornetist at the Empire Theater, Valentine P., Hugh B. and John S., all of Holyoke, and one sister Mrs. F. A. Norman of Chicago. His brother Michael left Wednesday evening for Yonkers for the body which will be taken to Holyoke for burial. The funeral will be held at the home of his brother st 308 West Hampden Street tomorrow morning, with requiem mass in the Holy Cross Church at 10 o’clock. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. There are few in Holyoke who have not heard “Tom” Browne whistle, and the best wishes of the city have always been with him when on his trips. He visited with his brothers often during the years since he left Holyoke and there is scarcely a man in Holyoke who was better known or more sincerely liked.

From The Springfield Republican.

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