Rufus McIlhenny Brown, a philanthropist, died Monday at his home on Avery Island after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 57.
A New Orleans native, he has lived in Ketchum, Idaho, with his wife, Liz, for the past 18 years.
Rufus graduated from The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Upon graduation, he worked in New Orleans as a land man for Price Energy and then Corporate Realty before retiring and moving to Ketchum.
An avid outdoorsman, Rufus particularly enjoyed duck hunting, fishing and snow skiing. He and Liz enjoyed traveling throughout the world and developing a deeper understanding of different cultures and their people.
Through his generous philanthropy, he touched many people less fortunate than he and worked tirelessly to enrich their lives. In New Orleans and Ketchum, he contributed to his community with his time and his resources. He was a leader of numerous nonprofit organizations and will be remembered particularly for his work with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.
As the ski education foundation’s former president and then honorary board member, Rufus helped so many children he never met because, he said, “I really enjoy being around the kids, seeing their enthusiasm for the sport and watching them work together.”
Rufus will be remembered by his family and many friends for his exceptional sense of humor, loyalty and compassion for others, all of which he showed even in the last moments of his life.
He is survived by his adoring wife of 28 years, Elizabeth Klein “Liz” Brown; his loving mother, Louisette Trousdale Brown; and his two brothers, Alfred “Buzzy” Brown and Christian “Christy” Brown, with whom he shared a lifetime of adventures, and their wives, Joey and Kia, respectively. His niece, Amelie, and his nephews, Whitney, Duncan and Christian, for whom he had deep affection and pride, also survive him. His father, Alfred W. Brown Jr., preceded him in death.
There will be a memorial service for Rufus in Sun Valley on July 13 at a time and place to be announced. In lieu of flowers, please send any gifts to Camp Rainbow Gold, 2676 S. Vista Ave., Boise, ID 83705.