Todd Brown, Longtime SPMS Teacher, Dies at 46

Todd Brown (right) with (left to right) daughter Noel, wife Jennifer and son Kristoff. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Brown

Todd Brown, who taught math at South Pasadena Middle School for 17 years and touched hundreds of lives in the community, died of brain cancer on Oct. 15 at City of Hope in Duarte, his family confirmed. He was 46.

As a teacher, Brown was remembered for his kindness both in and out of the classroom. Before teaching sixth- and seventh-grade math at SPMS, he taught at Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood.

An avid sports lover, Brown also coached football, basketball and volleyball at SPMS for eight years. Baseball was one of his favorite sports to watch, and he was a huge fan of the Dodgers, Lakers and Chargers. One of his proudest moments was coaching a Kobe Bryant basketball camp.

Brown was born in Burbank and raised in Woodland Hills. He studied Liberal Arts at San Diego State University, then earned his Master of Arts in Administration at California State Los Angeles. 

Brown met his future wife, Jennifer, in 2008 in Rancho Cucamonga. After a long engagement, they moved to the San Gabriel Valley.

Brown will be remembered for “his humor, drive, smile and presence in South Pasadena,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer described Brown as a “loving and caring person who was compassionate and understanding.” While “hard-working and determined to succeed,” he was also “humble with a great sense of humor.”

Jennifer’s favorite memories with Todd included their wedding day in Long Beach surrounded by loved ones; waking up at 4 a.m. to work out together daily; spending Thanksgiving in Solvang; countless Dodger games; shopping for stocking stuffers during the holidays; and hanging out with their daughter Noel and son Kristoff, and friends.

Causes that were important to him included feeding the homeless and helping disadvantaged kids, Jennifer said. 

Dave Kubela, principal of SPMS, said he first got to know Brown when Kubela was a teacher at Marengo Elementary School. Later, Brown became Kubela’s daughter’s math teacher. Kubela worked with Brown for the last 12 years at SPMS.

“I got to know Todd as a fellow teacher, parent and then as an administrator,” Kubela said. “The one word that best describes Todd to me is ‘genuine.’ He was genuinely kind and thoughtful. I think that allowed him to connect to kids and be a friend to colleagues. I could always count on Todd to support the students. Todd earned his administrative credential and was often acting administrator in my absence. I think he would have been a great administrator.”

Andrew Adanto teaches eighth grade American history at SPMS and is the school’s athletic director. He worked with Brown for 17 years.

“Todd served as my coach for eight years,” Adanto said. “He was a terrific role model for all of his athletes and math students. He managed his teams so well and always found ways to get all of his players some playing time.

“He hosted team lunches prior to games and he alone built up the South Pasadena Middle School football program. He will deeply missed by the SPMS faculty and staff, students and the community at large.”

Said Jennifer: “Todd was my everything. He was my best friend.”