George BrownJanuary 31, 1920 ~ December 26, 2017 (age 97)
George Brown was born 97.9 years ago in Champaign, IL as the middle son to George R. Brown and Marie Donaldson Brown. The Brown family had called LaSalle county, IL as home for many generations; however the railroad family moved from LaSalle county to Champaign and eventually settled in Alton, IL. In Alton, George became an active football player for East Jr. High, Alton High, (graduating in 1938), and Shurtleff College. He was also active as a newspaper boy, ice delivery boy for Klinke Ice Company while contributing service to DeMolay.
George joined the Army Air Corps, pre-war in early 1941 at Scott Field, IL as a private. George completed 31 years in the military and loved airplanes, and the mechanics of their operation. During WWII he served as a B-29 Flight Engineer, postwar transitioning to a B-36 as a Flight Engineer, and then to combat operations for B-47’s and tankers with a transition to the SR-71 from Edwards AFB to Beale AFB. The SR-71 was a particular joy for George. He was affectionately known as “Mach 4 George”, master crew chief / master recovery chief. His final duty station was Utapo AFB, Thailand as maintenance commander. George retired as a Major in 1972 in Sacramento, CA.
George’s next big adventure was bonsai, he practiced this art and science for over 40 years; with most of those years in partnership with his wife, Doris. Their home property in Carmichael, CA was covered with many bonsai from junipers to pines, wisteria, persimmon and satsuki azaleas. They had starter trees and mature trees and they loved all varieties and tree styles. In later years, George became fascinated with satsuki azaleas and that became his major focus. Active members in American Bonsai Association of Sacramento and the Satsuki Aikokai of Sacramento. At the death of his wife, Doris and then his son, Stephen; George relocated to Austin, TX with 30 bonsai of his collection and participated in the Austin Bonsai Society.
George was a warm, friendly, jovial man who never was without a story to tell or an experience to share with others. He was a wonderful husband, father, friend and always generous to every person. He married his great love in Alton, IL, Doris Lorch (Alton High graduate) in 1945 and they traveled throughout the US and Canada together while he served the USAF. He was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Doris Lorch Brown, his son, Stephen, his brothers Roy and Walter Brown and their spouses, and his parents. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Deborah and James Van Cleaf of Buda, Texas. At George’s request a memorial service is not planned, he will be buried later this year in a private service at Oakwood Memorial Park in Ottawa, IL with his wife, son, parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle. Any donations should go to the charity of your choice.
The family would like to express their appreciation to Dr. Steven Dobberfuhl and his staff and to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center.