Friday, June 18, 2010

Eugene B. "Brownie" Brown Sr.

(Family and friends, if you email me your special memories of Gramp, I'll post them here, or you can just add a comment.)

As published in the Bangor Daily News, June 9, 2010

WASHBURN - Eugene B. "Brownie" Brown Sr., 86, passed away Monday, June 7, 2010, at a Presque Isle hospital. He was born May 17, 1924, in Patten, the son of Harold and Bessie (Harvey) Brown. Brownie attended local schools in Patten and then joined the U.S. Navy. Upon his honorary medical discharge, he was employed as a station agent at Bangor and Aroostook Railroad for 11 years before joining Aroostook Potato Growers and becoming co-owner of Washburn Potato Co. He was very community minded; serving on the board of directors of Washburn Trust Co., the board of directors for SAD 45, president of Washburn Rotary Club and was named honorary alumnus of Washburn District High School. Brownie's family was very important to him. His family accompanied him for nine summers and enjoyed living on Silver Beach as he worked in Exmore, Va., for M.J. Duer Potato Co. He and his wife, Kay, also spent 35 winters in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla.; freely sharing their home with each of their children and grandchildren. They also traveled to Walt Disney World with 22 family members and made some very special memories. Brownie and Kay spent many happy times with their family at their camp on Portage Lake. Brownie also enjoyed stock car racing at Spud Speedway. He owned and operated a stock car sponsored by Washburn Potato Co. In later years, he was "honorary field boss" for Aaron Turner Farms, and enjoyed picking potatoes and giving them away. He was an avid poker player, enjoyed fly-fishing and hunting, and, in later years, putting puzzles together. Surviving, in addition to his wife of almost 66 years, Kathleen (Willigar) of Washburn; are his five children, Brenda and her husband, Larry Turner, Cheryl and her husband, Winston Shankel, Vicki and her husband, Deryle Sponberg, Joanne and her husband, David Lavway, and Eugene Jr. and his wife, Londa Brown; 12 grandchildren, Wendy and her husband, David Rose, Sheila and her husband, Doug Clark, Aaron and his wife, Laura Turner, Craig Russell, Linda and her husband, Chris MacDonald, Angela and her husband, Scott Wardwell, Gregory and his wife, Nicol Sponberg, Marci and her husband, Stephen Wilcox, Amie Lavway and her fiance, Kris Milo, Laura and her husband, Pete Slay, Eugene B. Brown III, and Eric and his wife, Janet Brown; and 16 great-grandchildren, Alexander Rose, Michael and Brian Clark, Mason and McCall Turner, CJ Russell, Anna and Abigail MacDonald, Annelise and Liliana Wardwell, Summer Sponberg, Christopher, Andrew and Morgan Wilcox, Caleb and BJ Brown. He also leaves behind a sister, Charlotte Michaud of Connecticut; and in-laws, Clarence and his wife, Sandy Willigar, Nora Willigar, Reba Wiggins, Bob and Gloria Willigar, Cora Savage, Jane and Donnie McNally, Judy James, Elsie and Vernon Campbell, Ruth and Chippy Lane, Donis and Wanda Willigar, Gail Campbell, and Elaine Willigar. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a brother, Manly Brown; and a great-grandson, Luke Sponberg. Funeral services will be conducted 1 p.m. Thursday, June 10, at Duncan-Graves Funeral Home, 30 Church St., Presque Isle, with the Rev. Clayton Blackstone Jr. officiating. Friends may call noon Thursday until time of service. Interment will take place after the service at Crouseville Cemetery. Those who wish may make donations to Luke Sponberg Foundation online at Condolences may be expressed online at

Given in memory of Gramp to The Luke Sponberg Foundation

Many thanks to...
-Russell and Marilyn Allen (Presque Isle, ME)
-Dan and Jill Boyd (Presque Isle, ME)
-Howie and Laurie Bishop and Family (Bangor, ME)
-David and Connie Heald (Washburn, ME)
-Thomas and Rinette Hill (Coconut Creek, FL)
-Alan and Ginette Irving (Presque Isle, ME)
-Frank and Darrylin Keenan (Presque Isle, ME)
-Lancaster and Morgan Funeral Home (Caribou, ME)
-Nadine Peary (Bangor, ME)
-Richard and Barbara Porter (Washburn, ME)
-Linda Randolph (Presque Isle, ME)
-Cora Savage (Patten, ME)
-Winston and Cheryl Shankel (Hampden, ME)
-Barry and Mary Lou Thibeau (Fort Fairfiled, ME)
-Thompson-Hamel, LLC (Presque Isle, ME)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Home from Haiti...

What a time it's been since returning from Haiti on Wednesday. The A/C went out that evening, and it was boiling hot in this place. I made a few calls on Thursday morning to have someone come take a look at it, but everyone was booked up and couldn't get to it until Friday. My first response would normally have been to check into a hotel, but having just been in the sweltering heat and humidity of Haiti, I was actually sort of acclimated. So we toughed it out... even though sleeping in a room that is 86 degrees is miserable no matter where you are. Then, at about midnight on Thursday/Friday, Summer woke up crying and said that her ear hurt. After 30 minutes or so, Nicol suggested that we go to a hotel, so we got ready real quick and headed out the door. Summer was getting more and more uncomfortable, so we drove to the ER to have her ear looked at. Sure enough, she had the beginnings of an ear infection and the doc gave us some drops and and prescription for amoxicillin. Next stop: hotel. Nicol called a few places and they were either booked or more $$ than any dive should ask for at 2:30am. I pulled into a Hilton Garden Inn and Nicol when in to see if they had vacancy and how much they get for a room. Yes, they had vacancy and frighteningly, the woman said it would $199. Nicol is very skilled in those types of situations and she began to work her magic, asking if they could match the price ($89) at a nearby hotel. She did match that price (unbelievable) and she checked us in so that we wouldn't have to check out until Saturday morning. That was a total blessing. We vegged all day Friday. Felt great. And Summer's ear is feeling much better.

But all that is quite insignificant in comparison to yesterday's events. I got a call from my Dad at about 7:30am, and he told me that my Grandfather (Mom's father) had apparently had a heart attack and that he wasn't doing well. Then, about an hour later, the news came that Gramp had passed. He was 86 and has had a history of heart disease, but he was in pretty good shape over all and this was totally unexpected. So tomorrow morning, Nicol. Summer and I will be traveling to Maine. The funeral will be Thursday afternoon. It will be good to finally get up there and be with everyone. I feel so bad for Gram... they would have celebrated their 66th anniversary in December. Amazing.

With all the craziness, I haven't been able to get any Haiti updates posted. What I can say is this: it was an amazing trip and I want to go back... with Nicol next time! More on Haiti when things calm down.

For now, I'm going to bed... have to be up at 5.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Haiti--Day 4


Up at 5:50AM. Had b'fast at 6:30. Devos with the Global Outreach guys at 7. Beautiful morning here. Hot, but this compound is gorgeous. Right now I am looking out over a bay with mountains behind. The ocean water is blue/green and spectacular. Samaritan's Purse operation is in full work mode, building temporary shelter structures for those who have been and are being displaced out of PaP into Titanyen. There are lots and lots of people in that situation and based on having seen a tent city with 12,000 and another with 16,000 yesterday I have to think that many, many more could end up here. BTW, the 12,000 person tent city that we saw is located directly across from The Palace in what used to be a "beautiful" park, according to Nazer. It's not necessarily a safe place, and terribly sad to see. Who's going to help there?

Today Brian are going to help Chris and his crew unload a container. Chris just showed us around a bit. A primary part of their operation here is drilling wells, which he said is a 24/7 deal. Once you start drilling you can't stop to do something else and go back to it a couple of days later b/c the ground will collapse. Depending on what they are drilling thru, they may get 2-3 feet in a day or up to 50, but that about maxes his drills out. They spend 2 days a week just doing repairs, and every 3 months they do a complete maintenance overhaul of every well. And they've drilled 253 in the past 6 years.

Avg cost per well is $5000-$5500. Some a little less, some significantly more. Chris says you can't drill enough holes in this country. Clean water is that scarce.

Time to go unload a container...