Jerome (Jerry) Dean Brown of Apache Junction, Arizona, passed on June 23, 2019, after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was born on January 16, 1940, in Fairbury, Nebraska, to Glen and Ella Haake Brown. The family lived on a farm near Daykin, Nebraska, and then moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where Glen worked as a stone cutter. The family moved back to the farm and Jerry attended school until he graduated from Daykin High School in 1958. He enjoyed sports and excelled in basketball. For a couple of years he and his two brothers were three of the team’s starting five lineup.
While a senior he enlisted in the National Guard of Nebraska, serving in the Nebraska and Iowa National Guard for a total of 11 years. Jerry attended junior college in Fairbury for two years, finishing in 1960. He worked as a brakeman for the Rock Island Railroad for more than a year to make money to continue college.
In January of 1961 he met his future wife, Mary DeVee Davis of Superior, Nebraska, who was attending Fairbury Junior College. They were married on November 19, 1961.
Jerry received his B.A. in Education from Nebraska State Teachers College in Kearney, Nebraska, in 1968. His first job was at Hampton Public Schools in Nebraska as a social studies teacher and as the head football coach, assistant basketball coach and volleyball coach. They lived there three years when he made the decision to further his education. He earned a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
Upon graduation he moved the family to Bettendorf, Iowa, and became an educational audiologist for the Muscatine-Scott county schools. He had worked there for three years when he was recruited to work for the State of Iowa’s Department of Education in the Division of Special Education as the Consultant for Hearing Conservation. During these years he initiated many innovative programs for hearing-impaired children. He received many honors for his work, including being made a Fellow with the American Speech, Hearing and Language Association, along with many local honors in the state of Iowa.
He again returned to school and in 1978 earned a PhD in educational administration from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. In 1989 he made the decision to take a position with the Western Hills Area Education Agency in Sioux City, Iowa. He served first as Assistant Director of Special Education and then advanced to the Director of Special Education where he remained until his retirement in 2001.
After retiring Jerry and DeVee “hit the road” traveling full-time in their RV throughout the United States and Canada. The most memorable trips were to Alaska, Hawaii and Washington, D.C., and all the wonderful history seen there. Their trips focused on visiting many national parks, monuments, battlegrounds, state capitols and historical attractions all over the United States. Jerry also enjoyed trips to the UK, a river cruise through the Netherlands, and cruises to the West Indies in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, twice through the Panama Canal and both coasts of Mexico. Travel brought so many memories to cherish.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Glen and Ella Haake Brown; sister Doris Brown Morgan and husband Collins and their son Anthony Morgan from Hernando, Florida; and sister Shirley Brown Mammano and husband Joseph from Champaign, Illinois.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 58 years, Mary DeVee Brown of Apache Junction, Arizona; daughter Roxanne Bassett and husband Tony of Urbandale, Iowa; son Patrick Brown and wife Sandra of Olathe, Kansas; grandchildren Micah Bassett and wife Tabitha of Lawrence, Kansas; Jonah Bassett and Noah Bassett of Urbandale, Iowa; Sarah Champion and husband Andrew of Pleasant Hill, Iowa; and Sydney Brown of Olathe, Kansas; great granddaughter Emery Champion of Pleasant Hill, Iowa.
He is also survived by two sisters, Donna Brown Casper and husband Vinal of Taylorsville, Utah, and Beverly Brown Thompson and husband Richard of Yuma, Arizona; two brothers, Forrest Brown and wife Betty of Omaha, Nebraska, and Jon Brown of Oberlin, Kansas; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Jerry spent most of the last 15 years working for and with all the friends in the Meridian Manor community in Apache Junction. He participated in many roles and was respected for his good judgment and leadership abilities. He served on the HOA board and as its president. He loved to play table tennis for many years and turned to pool playing in his later years. He looked forward to spending time with his pool buddies and passed many hours honing his skills. While he wasn’t the best player, he enjoyed a good competition.
On his 79th birthday he was able to celebrate with numerous friends and neighbors at an open house where close to 100 people came to wish him “Happy Birthday.” Friends and family unable to attend, arranged a card shower, and how wonderful that was. It took him several days to open all of them.
His love bubbled over for the latest addition to the family, his first great granddaughter, Emery. On their last visit to Arizona he planned ways to entice her to come sit on his lap. What joy this little girl brought to him.
We are thankful for the love and support extended to our family after his passing. We are truly blessed with our kind and caring family and friends. The hole in our hearts will be large but will be filled with the love and memories we all cherish. He will be missed……
Service information in Des Moines, Iowa and Apache Junction, Arizona
A graveside service will be held on:
August 4, 2019, 2:00 o’clock pm
at Lowman Cemetery
Located just east of Hwy 316 on SE 56th Ave
(If desired, please bring a folding chair/lawn chair)
A light lunch will follow at the
Sleep Inn and Suites,
5850 Morning Star Ct,
Pleasant Hill, IA 50327.
The family will enjoy a chance to reminisce with any of Jerry’s friends. Note: If health issues prohibit you from being outside you are more than welcome to join us afterwards at the motel.
A Memorial/Celebration of life service will be held on
December 6, 2019, 3:00 o’clock pm
At the Meridian Manor Ballroom
2101 S Meridian Road
Apache Junction, AZ 85120
A potluck will follow the service.
Memorials will be given to the Apache Junction Food Bank, (Jerry’s favorite charity)