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It is with great sadness that the family of Don Brown announces his passing on February 13, 2014 at the age of 58. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family.
Don was born on June 20, 1955 in Miles City, MT to Bruce and Margaret (Dale) Brown. He lived a typical childhood playing kick the can with neighborhood kids, pulling pranks, catching snakes, lizards, toads, bats, and anything else that moved. He was a Cub Scout. Over the years he tried different sports and settled on football in high school. He helped raise money for the Harmony Hangout in Miles City by participating in a teeter-totter marathon. He set a new Montana marathon teeter-totter record of 65 hours in 1972.
After graduating from Custer County District High School in 1974, Don went to Ferris State College in Big Rapids, MI and graduated with an Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Service. He then went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT.
Don worked at the Tempo store in Miles City during high school. He had great memories working as a firefighter on the helitack crew for Bureau of Land Management during the summers stationed at Fort Howes, MT. He received a Special Achievement Award one dry summer for putting out the most fires in the area. He was promoted to squad boss and then worked as a fire radio dispatcher and automatic lightning detection technician.
After college, he worked at Don Norm Chevrolet in Bozeman, MT and as a service dispatcher & salesman at Bennett Pontiac, GMC Motors in Great Falls. He secured a job as an assistant manager with Kmart in Billings, MT and transferred to Gillette, WY; Rexburg, ID; Poway and Simi Valley, CA. He then went to work as an assistant manager for a new warehouse company called Club Wholesale and moved to Billings, MT. He worked there a couple of years before getting transferred to Salem, OR.
When Club Wholesale went out of business, Don applied for a position at Costco and worked in several management positions there. He helped Costco open its doors in Salem and worked there for 17 years before having to retire due to disability.
Don married his best friend and soul mate, Connie Hruska, on August 13, 1983 at the home of her parents in Lewistown, MT. They renewed their wedding vows for their 25th anniversary on a Princess cruise ship to Alaska and celebrated 30 years of blissful marriage last year. He loved to travel with his wife and they took mini vacations as often as they could. They got involved in geocaching (brownheads) and met many wonderful friends.
Don’s proudest accomplishment was his two sons. He loved his boys and tried to make it to all of their school events and activities. He loved flying kites with them at the coast and took them everywhere on the family adventures.
He had a fondness for chocolate malts, jerky, pistachios, frozen Snickers, ribs, and bacon. There wasn’t a steak he didn’t love. He was a big tease and his sparkling blue eyes and smile reflected his wonderful sense of humor. He loved magic tricks and telling jokes and practiced both to entertain family and friends. He was just a big kid in a man’s body. He enjoyed listening to classic rock music and had a ‘unique’ way of dancing to it. He loved watching football and rooting for the Oregon Beavers. His greatest passion was for motorcycles and cars. His latest motorcycle was a Honda 60 CBX. He was an avid reader of car and motorcycle magazines and loved going to auto shows and dealerships.
As he rides his motorcycle off on his next big adventure, Don leaves behind his wife, Connie, and sons Matthew and Michael all of Salem, Oregon.
He was preceded in death by both parents, and a brother, Mark.
He is survived by his sister Barbara Purdy of Portland, OR; brother Jim (Sara) of Torrance, CA; brother Stuart (Tanya) of Chanhassen, MN; and so many other family and friends. His golden retriever, Cali, will surely miss the cuddles in his recliner.
Don’s Celebration of Life will be held 2 pm, March 8th, at Virgil T. Golden’s Funeral Service, 605 Commercial St. SE, Salem, Ore. 97301 followed by a reception at the family home. Please dress casually and come share your memories. A private family outing is planned for a later date to scatter his ashes at the ocean. Celebrate life and not death. Live well, laugh often, love much, and give lots and lots of hugs. Don will live on if you keep his memory alive. We will truly miss you, Big D.