Tuesday, April 03, 2007

April 3, 1996:

Ron Brown Dies

Being a member of the president's cabinet hasn't traditionally been hazardous duty, but like presidents, cabinet secretaries do die in office from time to time. Eleven years ago today, Ronald Harmon Brown, 30th Secretary of Commerce and 54 years of age, died in a plane crash along with all 34 others while his flight attemped a landing in Cilipi, Croatia. He was on official business at the time, a trade mission.

Commerce secretaries aren't as generally well known as some other cabinet members, such as state and defense, but it is a plum job in charge of a large bureaucracy. It was Brown's reward for being such a successful Democratic Party operative, and instrumental in the election of President Clinton.

Brown was only the second commerce secretary to die in office since the post was created in 1913 by the separation of the Department of Commerce and Labor into two parts, and the other death was violent as well. Howard Malcolm Baldridge, who was 26th Secretary of Commerce for over six years under Ronald Reagan, died on July 25, 1987, some days after a horse he was riding fell on him while he was participating in a rodeo in California.

No comments: