Former Oklahoma City manager Donald D. Bown, who oversaw city operations during the 1995 bombing and oversaw the launching of the city's original Metropolitan Area Projects, died Sunday. He was 82.
Bown oversaw city government during painful growing pains, starting with its emergence from the 1980s oil boom and ending with the opening of the first MAPS projects in 1998. He was widely known for his humor, quick wit and frankness during his 20-year career at City Hall.
He was city manager from 1991 to 1998. While retired, he served as chairman of the Oklahoma City Airport Trust.
In his seven years as city manager, Bown led the city through the highs and lows of the 1990s, including Oklahoma City response to the Murrah Federal Building bombing.
“Don was city manager during a very critical time in Oklahoma City history that included the passage of two bond issues, the implementation of MAPS 1 and the tragic Murrah bombing,” current City Manager Jim Couch said. “His steady hand at the helm along with his ever present warmth and humor helped the community though those trying times.”
Former Mayor Ron Norick worked closely with Bown in the planning and launching of MAPS, and retired from City Hall the same year.
“Don and I worked very closely together,” Norick said. “I really appreciated that he was such a straightforward kind of guy. He would tell you what he was thinking. You never had to doubt what he was telling you.”
Bown was appointed city manager after having served the prior 14 years as the City's General Services Director and Finance Director.
Previously, he was executive director of the Oklahoma Crime Commission and had been City Manager of Bartlesville and Seminole. He began his career as an assistant city manager in Springfield, Mo.
Bown also served as president of four statewide municipal organizations: the Oklahoma Municipal League; the City Management Association of Oklahoma; the Clerks, Treasurers and Finance Officers Association of Oklahoma; and the Government Finance Officers Association of Oklahoma
He also served on the board of directors of the National Association of Regional Councils; was Regional Vice President for the International City/County Management Association and inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2004.
Services are set for 4 p.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church in Edmond..