HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Charles William (Bill) Brown, 70, loving husband of Jackie McGee Brown for 47 years, passed away suddenly Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Huntsville, Ala.
Surviving is his wife, Jackie McGee Brown; son Tim (Sarah) Brown of Wichita, Kan., and their four children, Ashlyn, Terran, Teagan and Braden; daughter Kimberly (Rob) Huchel of Fairmount, Ill., and their three children, Ryan, Troy and Mattison; and son Scott (Erika) Brown of Dallas, Texas, and their five children, Alec, Andie, Sennett, Sawyer and Blake; his brother, Jim (Sandy) Brown of Chicago; sister Becky (George) Oliver of Smithville, Tenn.; sister Mary (Rick) Moisio of Tucson, Ariz.; sister-in-law Becky (Bill) Siddens of Danville; and sister-in-law Judy McGee of Park Forest.
Bill was born in Danville and raised on the family farm near Indianola, Ill., the eldest child of and preceded in death by his parents, Charles (Dean) Brown and Helen Kehlenbach Brown.
He was a master electrician by trade and worked for General Motors (later Delphi) for 35 years at Tilton, Ill., and then Decatur, Ala. He graduated from Jamaica High School in 1960. From 1964 to 1972 Bill served in the Illinois National Guard, receiving an honorable discharge after having attained the rank of staff sergeant.
Bill was a self-educated man with a deep love of geology, astronomy and manned space flight. He was first introduced to geology by his father who brought home geodes he found in the plowed fields. Over the years, Bill built a mineral and rock collection of impressive scope. Bill’s knowledge was extensive, and he spent much time explaining to his children and grandchildren where the various specimens came from and how the rocks formed. He had a home telescope through which he loved to look at the stars and constellations. Among many other trips to Cape Canaveral, he attended the last Space Shuttle launch as a VIP.
He served on the Catlin school board, the Catlin Village Board and helped start youth football in Catlin.
Bill was a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan and probably first learned about baseball from his Grandfather Kehlenbach telling stories about the Chicago "Black Sox" and train trips to Chicago to watch baseball in the early 1900s. Bill attended the Indianapolis 500 many times and loved NASCAR and drag racing. A good Saturday afternoon in the fall always included NCAA football.
Bill was an avid reader and loved books about history, politics and the Civil War. He had very thoughtful well-informed opinions about the political and economic issues of the day but never imposed those opinions on others.
Bill was a gentleman in every best sense of the word. He loved his wife and family dearly as they loved him, always having time for them no matter how busy or tired he was. Second only to his wife and family he loved farming and nature. Although his passing was too abrupt and too soon, perhaps it provides comfort that his life ended doing something he loved, tending his garden.
Bill was a member of Catlin United Methodist Church and attended Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Decatur, Ala. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wesley Memorial UMC, 1211 Westmeade St. SW, Decatur, AL 35601, Catlin UMC, American Heart Association or other charities.
Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Robison Funeral Chapel in Catlin, Ill. The funeral is set for 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, in Catlin United Methodist Church. Burial: Oakridge Cemetery in Catlin with full military rights. Condolences: www.robisonchapel.com.