Vern George Brown
January 28, 1922 - June 01, 2015
Vern G. Brown, age 93, passed away on Monday, June 1, 2015 at Aegis Assisted Living in Edmonds, WA. Vern was predeceased by his parents May and George Brown, his sister Bette Stern, his nephew Kenneth Stern, and his wife Ruth Brown. Survivors include: three daughters: Julie Eichten (Carl) of Rice Lake, Wisconsin; Sandra Brown of Tucson, Arizona; and Leslie Nilan (Jon) of Edmonds, Washington; two nieces: Lynda Stern of Denver, Colorado and Janis Stern (Tim) of Duluth, Minnesota, as well as several great nieces and nephews.
Vern was born in Pine City, Minnesota on January 28, 1922 to May and George Brown. His sister Bette was born the following year. Vern grew up in Proctor, Minnesota (near Duluth) where his father worked for the railroad. Vern lived with his grandparents on the farm near Pine City during 5th and 6th grade, attending Pine City's one room school house when he switched places with his aunt Virgie so she could attend high school in Proctor.
Vern graduated from Proctor High School in 1941. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in July 1941 working as a Laundry Orderly in Thomson, Minnesota, and on a farm in Miles City, Montana before being Honorably Discharged in April 1942. Returning to Minnesota, he received War Production Training in Wood Shop through the National Youth Administration. Unlike most of his peers, he was unable to join the military service during World War II because of being legally blind in his left eye. In June of 1944, Vern began an apprenticeship as a machinist at National Iron Company in Duluth, Minnesota. He completed the apprenticeship in April 1949 qualifying him as a Journeyman Machinist. On January 1, 1955, Vern and a friend left on a trip in search of employment. Although they originally had set sights for Los Alamos, New Mexico, they stopped in Denver, Colorado. Vern got a job at the Coors Porcelain Plant where he worked for several years. In 1959, he became employed at Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant where he worked for twenty-five years until his retirement in 1984. Just five years before retiring, in 1979, he completed a Toolmaker Apprenticeship Course.
Vern married Lois Harter in 1947. They have two daughters: Julie born in 1949 and Sandi in 1953. Shortly after moving to Colorado, Lois and the girls returned to Minnesota. Vern met Ruth Hugins in 1959 through a carpool to Rocky Flats. The couple married on October 3, 1959. They have one child, Leslie, born in 1960. Ruth and Vern purchased a home in Arvada, Colorado where they lived for 47 years. They lived at Springwood Retirement Community in Arvada, CO for one year before moving to Aegis Assisted Living in Edmonds, WA to be closer to Leslie in 2010. After 52 years of marriage, Ruth passed away in 2012 at age 89.
Vern was always a bit of handy man. Around 1950, he, his dad, and his brother-in-law built four houses in Duluth. When things needed fixing around the house, the yard, or on the car; he usually could handle the job himself. He also enjoyed helping others, always ready and willing to lend a hand to friends in need. He and Ruth volunteered for Meals on Wheels for several years.
Vern enjoyed many hobbies. His number one was Polka Dancing. He and Ruth went to dances at The Denver Kickers for nearly thirty years as well as other local dance venues. He belonged to The Polka Lovers Klub of America. He taped music off the radio on Sundays so he could play polka music in the car and at home. Another favorite pastime was playing Duplicate Bridge. Ruth and Vern played bridge weekly at the Arvada Bridge Club from the 1960's and later at the Westminster Grange until they moved to WA. They did not often play together as partners, however, claiming that it was not always best for a marriage! They also participated in local bridge tournaments. Vern achieved the title Life Master in 1978. After moving to WA, Vern continued to play bridge at Aegis until 2012 when he ran out of partners. Other hobbies included ice skating, bike riding, playing pool, bowling, and gardening.
A Celebration of Vern's life will be held on Tuesday, June 23rd at 1:30 pm at Aegis Assisted Living of Edmonds, 21500 72nd Ave W, Edmonds, WA. A second memorial will be held on Sunday, August 16th at 2:00 pm at Berkeley United Methodist Church, 5200 W. 43rd Ave, Denver, CO with dancing at The Denver Kickers following the service. His remains will join Ruth's in a plot at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA.
"The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him."
- Proverbs 20:7
"There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself."
- John Gregory Brown