Gregory Robert Browne, 53, a modern Renaissance man whose career ranged from commercial pilot to television reporter to paramedic with the Philadelphia Fire Department, died Wednesday of lymphoma.
Mr. Browne, who was known as Greg, lived in Philadelphia and Ocean City, N.J. He had never been sick in his life until July 2018, when he was diagnosed with lymphoma, said his wife of seven years, Amy Brenholts, a Channel 6 photographer.
He underwent 18 months of treatments, including several clinical trials, said Brenholts. He died on New Year’s Day at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Mr. Browne was born in Philadelphia and raised in Ocean City, the only child of Robert and Lillian Browne. A devout Catholic, he attended Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, where he played football, rowed crew, and was a founding member of the school’s surf team. He attended the University of Miami and later Richard Stockton University.
Mr. Browne’s career arc was marked by constant reinvention. He began work as a lifeguard with the Ocean City Beach Patrol, and then acquired his pilot’s license and flew banner planes in South Jersey and in Florida. “He transitioned from working on the beach to flying above it,” Brenholts said.
He received his multi-engine certification and flew shuttles in the Caribbean, and then received his jet rating and flew private corporate aircraft before working as a pilot for US Airways. His career as a commercial pilot ended during the industry’s contraction following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Brenholts suggested that Mr. Browne learn how to shoot video, and he got his break when a photographer at Channel 40 at the Shore was injured just as a hurricane was heading toward New Jersey. Mr. Browne was hired on the spot. He later moved in front of the camera, reporting on the news and weather.
Mr. Browne switched careers again when he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson University’s paramedic program and got hired by the Philadelphia Fire Department. He graduated from the Fire Academy in 2015 at age 48. He was stationed at Engine 1, Ladder 5 and assigned to Medic 35 on South Broad Street.
In 2018, Mr. Browne experienced discomfort and swelling in a leg. On what would be his final run working as a paramedic, he checked himself into the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital emergency room after delivering a patient. He was diagnosed with cancer.
“He was an amazing guy, and the love of my life,” said Brenholts.
Visitation is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, 242 S. 20th St., Philadelphia. A funeral Mass will be said at noon. Burial is private.
Donations can be made to the Philadelphia Firefighters’ & Paramedics’ Union Local 22 Charitable Trust, in memory of Greg Browne, at 415 N. Fifth St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19123.