Richard “Dick” Evrest Brown
Richard “Dick” Evrest Brown – the man who never met a stranger – passed away peacefully at his home in Dunedin, FL, on January 14, 2024. Dick was born on May 16, 1930, to James and Sarah Brown in Burlington, VT. He graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1949.
Dick enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1950, and served as a radio man on a destroyer, the U.S.S. Watts out of Charleston, SC, before serving on a submarine, the U.S.S. Runner, out of Norfolk, VA. Dick served in the Korean War, traveling through the Mediterranean. He could vividly recount submarine “hide and seek” drills and enjoyed making up place names inspired by the ports he visited to win at Scattergories with his grandkids for years to come. Dick received an honorable discharge in 1954 and was extremely proud of his service. He was an active member of the VFW and the American Legion throughout his life. In 2017, he went on a Veterans’ Honor Flight, which sends veterans to see Washington D.C.’s monuments, and honors veterans of all wars.
In 1953, Dick married Judith Marshall Brown, who was his beloved wife for 44 years until her death in 1997. Dick and Judy were the life of the party, and both had a quick wit and usually had a cold one in their hands. At parties they could be found cutting a rug – and boy could they dance. Many stories have been told, and most of them are true.
Dick and Judy began their married life in Burlington, VT, as she started her teaching career, and he started his career as an independent insurance adjuster. Their oldest son, Michael, was born in 1955.
The Brown family moved to Bellows Falls, VT, in 1956, which they called home for the next 46 years. Dick and Judy welcomed sons, Peter in 1956, Terry in 1960, and daughter, Karen in 1961. Judy had a decades-long teaching career and Dick ran a successful insurance business for 40 years, serving the greater Bellows Falls community through Co-Op and Nationwide. So many of his customers became his life-long friends.
Dick was devoted to his community, and he believed in being there for his fellow man. Along the way he served as a little league Rotary coach (many still call him “coach” to this day), started a skiing program for local students, and volunteered as a sports announcer for the Bellows Falls Terriers. Dick was a member of the board of selectman for Bellows Falls, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award for the Vermont Jaycees in 1963, was honored with the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Bellows Falls Chamber of Commerce in 1975, was named the Bellows Falls Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 1983, was honored as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow in 1988, and he was a proud Mason and member of the Elks and the Moose. He participated in the YMCA Indian Guides and taught boys respect for each other and respect for nature, along with life skills. Dick and Judy were proud supporters of children and people in their community, helping many throughout their years. They sponsored kids to go to camps, always supported the local booster club, and wore their purple and white with pride.
On the occasion of his 70 birthday, the Vermont state legislature passed a joint resolution to honor his four decades of outstanding volunteer community service.
Dick was an avid traveler and loved exploring the world and getting to know people along the way. He always cherished seeing the Mediterranean through his time in the Navy, he saw the British Isles through a trip with the Masons, he and Judy went to Bermuda and Antigua, and enjoyed taking their family on many trips throughout New England and on other adventures. One of his favorites was to take his children on “surprise trips” where he’d gather them in the car and have them guess their destination. Surprise trips included adventures see the WWE, and the ice capades featuring Olympic medalist Dorothy Hamill. Above all else, he wanted his kids to see the world. Dick and Judy enjoyed traveling each winter to Florida where they stayed in Clearwater Beach for many years, first with Judy’s parents and later, on their own at the Sea Captain Motel.
In 1964, Dick and Judy bought a camp on Crescent Lake in Unity, NH, which the Brown family enjoyed for over 50 years. Dick taught countless people to waterski, threw nearly all of them off of tubes, and did a lot of sitting on the porch in his red rocking chair, enjoying the company of his many friends and relatives. He always kept his bird feeders full and kept an eye out for Judy’s favorite, the goldfinches. In his later years, he loved to watch his family and friends play in the lake and “watch the world go by.”
Dick Brown was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing. He built the “Pals Forever” hunting camp in Westminster West, VT, in 1980, where he enjoyed a little venison, and a lot of cribbage and libations. He’d always let you know his favorite color was blaze orange.
An avid sports fan, in addition to his years of coaching little league, you could find Dick at many local games or at home watching MLB or the NFL. He loved the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox, until he became a Florida transplant and became a Tampa Rays and Bucs fan.
One of the things Dick loved most was being a grandfather, and he spent countless hours at sporting events, plays, and band concerts – and would let you know he enjoyed every minute of each one. Known as “Poppi” to Shane and Cody Brown and as “Grampie” to Erin Ryan and Amanda Billings, he was overjoyed to become “Great-Grampie” (or “Guppy,” depending on who you ask), when Amanda and her husband, Mikey Billings welcomed Jackson Everest Billings in 2021.
In 1999, following the death of his beloved wife, Judy, he became a Florida “snowbird.” By 2002, he had sold his house in Bellows Falls and became a permanent resident of Honeymoon Park in Dunedin, FL. Dick enjoyed meeting many new friends at Honeymoon Park and the Highland Lakes community and throughout Pinellas County, including his special friend and companion for over 20 years, Alice Maloney.
He enjoyed many activities at the Honeymoon Park clubhouse: he was an active member of the cribbage club, he brought his own Vermont maple syrup to pancake breakfasts, he was always the first to show up for Koffee Klatch (whether it was to greet people or to get the best donut, we aren’t sure), he loved watching a game of horseshoes, and he enjoyed swimming in the pool and catching up on gossip.
Along with Alice Maloney, he was involved in the Highland Lakes community, enjoying many dances, dinners, theater trips, musical performances, Euchre, and other card games. He grew close to Alice’s family and her grandchildren affectionally become known as his adopted grandchildren.
In Florida, he found part time jobs that involved his two favorite things: people and baseball. Dick worked as an usher and ticket taker for Toronto Blue Jays spring training games, as well as an Enterprise shuttle driver, where he met even more new friends on every drive.
Dick was an active and faithful member of the Faith Covenant Community Church in Palm Harbor. He enjoyed spending time with Pastors Steve and Susan Johnson, and through the years, Dick and Pastor Steve became close friends and confidants. Dick became friends with other parishioners, volunteered for church events, and cherished this community.
He didn’t always have an easy life, but despite adversity, Dick felt and spread joy to all who knew him. He always said to “put it in four-wheel drive and keep going,” and he strived to live fully and generously. He moved forward and thrived though his gift of gab and his kind heart.
Dick Brown was predeceased by his loving wife, Judith Marshall Brown and sons, Peter (died at the age of 8 of cancer) and Terry (died at the age of 21, serving the Bellows Falls community as a volunteer firefighter). He is survived by his son, Michael Brown, his daughter, Karen Ryan and her husband, Mark Ryan, his grandsons, Shane Brown (Alicia McDonald) and Cody Brown (Sommer Fry) and Erin Ryan (Alexandra Hill) and his favorite granddaughter, Amanda Billings (Mikey Billings) and her son, Jackson Everest Billings.
His legacy will live on through all who knew him, who remember his wit, joy, generous spirit, true friendship, and can-do spirit.
A memorial service was held at Faith Covenant Community Church on Friday, January 26, 2024, in Palm Harbor, FL. A Celebration of his Life and interment will be held in Bellows Falls, VT, in June 2024, with details to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Honor Flight of West Central Florida at www.HonorFlightWCF.org or PO Box 55661, St. Petersburg, FL, 33732; or Bellows Falls Junior League at PO Box 415, Bellows Falls, VT, 05101.
Fenton and Hennessey Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.
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Jean M. Illingworthposted January 30, 2024
The Brown Family has always been an extension of my family growing up. Our parents had so much fun through the years, at New Year's Eve parties, special occasions and getting through some very tough times. The generation of the "Pals Forever" really knew what was important, the people you love. My parents' grave sports the name "Pals Forever" on it as do others in that special circle. Growing up, I learned that Mr. Brown had been the best man at my parents' wedding. I could see why that was. Mr. Brown was a robust, joyful and kindhearted man. I don't remember a time when I didn't see Mr. Brown about town. I will always remember his laugh, smile and his love of storytelling. Oh, how they all laughed!
Mr. Brown was nominated for the Terrier Hall of Fame which I served on. I voted for him three years in a row because I knew he deserved this honor. When he wasn't voted in the third year, I quit the committee. I so strongly felt that Mr. Brown should have this honor bestowed on him when he was alive. He was the epitome of a Terrier.
Although time and distance has created some space, my memories of Mr. Brown, his family and the Pals Forever gang have lasted through the years. I always felt fortunate to know these remarkable group of people and feel their love and support growing up.
PALS FOREVER! -Jean Illingworth and family