Estel Richard Brown, 69, of Bellflower, died Friday (Dec. 8, 2017). He couldn’t have been in a better place - out hunting with his brother and one of his closest friends.
“Dick” was born April 27, 1948 to Estel Ernest Brown and Geneva Dorcas Brown (Davis) in Troy, Ind. He attended Gibson City High School before moving to the Quad Cities and graduating from Moline High School in 1967.
Dick served with the U.S. Army for two years, including 11 months in Vietnam in 1968 to 1969. He was part of the 2nd Battalion 47th Infantry 9th Division. Sgt. Brown was awarded the Purple Heart, with oak leaf cluster, and two bronze stars, one with V device and oak leaf cluster, for his meritorious service. He was still actively involved with his “brothers” and helped with the 2nd Battalion 47th Infantry scholarship and also helped in erecting their memorial at the National Infantry Museum in Fort Benning, Ga.
Before leaving to Vietnam, he had already met his future wife, Barbara L. Garard, of Gibson City. They married May 16, 1970, in Gibson City. She survives.
They first resided in Green Rock before moving to Bellflower in 1986.
They have two daughters, Amy (Ernie) Hamilton of Saybrook and Cindy (Joe) Kane of Little York. Dick was also the proud Grandpa to seven grandchildren, Ashleigh, Noah, William, Hannah, Lauren “Luci”, Jacob “Jack”, and Adam. He is survived by his sister Debra (Mark) Rodgers and his brothers, Jerry and Randy (Debbie) Brown.
Dick retired from working for the Defense Contract Management Agency, Department of Defense, a branch of the federal government, Dec. 31, 2011. He had been there 28 years. Prior to that, he had worked for Teske in Moline, Anchor Lumber in Silvis, and International Harvester Company in East Moline.
He was a member of the American Legion, VFW, and DAV.
He was preceded in death by his parents and by two sisters, Cindy Sue Brown and Jacqui Lynn Mickle, and sister-in-law Lori Brown. His mother, Dorcas Brown, passed away in Texas on the same day as Dick.
Dick was an avid deer hunter. When not hunting, he spent the remainder of the year preparing for the next deer season. He constantly stayed busy. He could be found remodeling his home, working outside, helping friends and families with projects, golfing, or making homemade sausage and wine in his basement kitchen. This year, Dick and Barb enjoyed an Alaskan cruise with friends and attended two Army Basic Training graduations for their grandchildren, PFC Ashleigh and PFC William. Nothing was more important than family.
A viewing with the family will be held Friday at Lamb Funeral Home in Gibson City from 4 to 7 p.m. with a memorial service to follow. Military rites will be accorded.
A small gathering will be held with the family after the memorial service at the Gibson City American Legion.
Memorials may be made to the Bellflower American Legion, Verne Lochner Memorial Scholarship, or the American Cancer Society.