Since the mid-1980s, the one-time greeting card company owner also
worked for a variety of AIDS-care projects, including service as a
volunteer for AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Minority AIDS
Project. He also helped found the nonprofit AIDS Hospice Foundation,
an outgrowth of the 1986 Stop AIDS Quarantine Committee, which
defeated a state ballot initiative that would have required
detention of those testing positive for the human immunodeficiency
In February, 1987, Brownlie learned he had AIDS himself and, after
surviving several brushes with death, continued to work for expanded
AIDS health care. For a while, it was slow going.
Faced with inaction by the county Board of Supervisors, Hospice
Foundation members picketed in front of Supervisor Mike Antonovich's
home. Brownlie, meanwhile, appeared before the Los Angeles County
Commission on AIDS, emotionally demanding: "You find a way for me to
die at home in the arms of my loved ones, or a facility in which my
loved ones can care for me in dignity."
When supervisors eventually voted $2 million for AIDS health care,
the Hospice Foundation agreed to operate a facility in Elysian Park
at the site of Barlow Hospital's old nursing quarters.
The 25-bed facility was named the Chris Brownlie Hospice, according
to foundation President Michael Weinstein, "because he is a
representative of those in the community who have the spirit,
courage and grace to fight for those with AIDS."
The Chris Brownlie Hospice, which has a waiting list, is the largest
of its kind in the county and offers 24-hour medical service.
Construction is under way on another 25-bed hospice to be operated
by the foundation on the grounds of Metropolitan State Hospital in
"If you want a miracle that is better than any drug, work to make
life better," Brownlie said at the start of construction of the
Chris Brownlie Hospice.
"Of course, I've always hoped that I would not die, that I would
live forever," Brownlie told The Times when the facility opened last
December. "But on another level, I actually get a sense of
well-being about this experience. Sometimes it becomes very profound
in a religious sense at the edges of my consciousness. And this is
what the hospice program is about. It will help others accept the
fact that death, too, is part of the life experience."
Brownlie is survived by his father, Robert Brownlie; a sister, Pat
Brownlie; brothers Peter and Andrew Brownlie, and his longtime
companion, Phill Wilson.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 16 at the First
Unitarian Church, 2936 W. 8th St. In lieu of flowers, contributions
may be made to the Chris Brownlie Hospice.