A kind and selfless man slipped away from this earth on February 12, 2019, and into the arms of the Lord Jesus, whom he loved with all his heart. Afflicted with ALS, his body had slowly weakened; but his spirit and love remained strong.
Donald Ray Brown was the second child born to Clyde and Charlotte (Dolly) Brown on March 12, 1948, in Encino California. Don’s older sister, Sharon, became his fierce and loyal protector. As a boy, Don loved campouts with his dad (his Boy Scout troop leader) who was an influential role model for Don and many boys. Don’s cheerful, winsome ways made him the delight of his mother’s heart and he often admitted to being spoiled rotten. Don used to say that when he was a child, he assumed the lights went out whenever he left a room. He was that confident that life only happened when he was in it.
In 1968 Don married Karen (Walker) and moved to San Jose where he studied ministry at San Jose Bible College. Their marriage produced three beautiful children: Matthew, Jennifer, and Melissa.
In 1977, Don married Cheri (Tatum), and gained another wonderful son, Timothy Tatum. Cheri and Don were blessed with twins in 1985—Joshua and Rebecca. Not long after the twins were born, Cheri and Don moved to Idaho to raise their family. They became pillars of the Caldwell Christian Church where they were considered a mother and father to many. Cheri and Don shared 37 loving years together before Cheri passed away in 2014.
In 2015, Don went out for “just a coffee date” with Brenda (Harger) and fell in love. They married, and shared a happy few years together with Violet and Chip Harger, children Don loved as his own.
Don was an inspiring project manager at HP, adjunct faculty at George Fox University, owner of Socratic Consultants, prison educator at the College of Western Idaho, and was involved in many non-profit organizations. Through his years with Canyon County IT, he held multiple positions, from Project Manager to Interim Director. In fact, there isn’t room on this page to list all the things that Don did in his 70 years. But what is more important than his career or successes, is how he made a difference in the lives of the people who knew him.
Don will be remembered as a man with a heart of gold. He was a people-person, and well-liked wherever he went. He lived his faith humbly, with unconditional love and concern for others. He was generous and inspiring a gifted teacher, a mentor, an encourager, a cheerleader, a friend. He brought out the best in people. Seeing talents and capabilities in others that they couldn’t see for themselves, he encouraged them to be everything he knew they could be. And once they discovered their gifts and found their footing, he took no credit. He was proud of them—that was enough.
A Facebook post from LoveCaldwell sums up what he did best. It reads, “Don Brown was instrumental in bringing about this organization, LoveCaldwell. It was through his enthusiasm, encouragement, and belief in the kindness of Caldwell's citizens that we began to believe it too. He told us together we could change things ... and we have, simply by loving the City and loving one another.”
In his final days, Don could no longer walk by himself, eat, drink, or speak. Even his hearing began to fail. But with his phone or tablet at his side, he could text, and remained involved with his children, grandchildren, extended family, and a multitude of friends. When asked how he was doing, he’d text, “I can’t complain!” And then he’d want to know how you were doing.
He is dearly loved and will be greatly missed. He loved everyone, but most deeply, he loved his family.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Sharon Apichino, his nephew Chris Apichino, and Cheri, his wife of 37 years. He is survived by his wife Brenda, and by his children: Matthew (Stephanie) Wheeler, Jennifer (Dave) Bach, Melissa (Troy) Syverson, Timothy (Tina) Tatum, Rebecca (Matthew) Blankenship, Joshua (Jackie) Brown, Parker Harger, Benji (Brianna) Harger, Missy Harger, Violet Harger, and Chip Harger. He leaves behind 17 grandchildren: Taylor, Christian, Katie (Jordan), Robbie, Joey, Kenzie, Mac, Justine, Maddie, Marlee, Enzo, Max, Shelby, Cooper, Brock, Brent, and Joseph. Just days before he passed away, Don learned that Rebecca and Matt are expecting twins! He was such a proud Papa! Don is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The family would like to thank Heart and Home Hospice for their excellent help and care—especially Jerry and Mark.
The family will hold a private internment on February 23rd. There are also plans to honor Don with a Celebration of Life at Indian Creek Plaza in early spring.
If you would like to make a memorial contribution, please consider LoveCaldwell: 3320 S. Montana Ave, Caldwell, ID 83605; Hands of Hope Northwest: 1201 S. Powerline Rd, Nampa ID; or Christian Children's Ranch: 2421 W. Duck Alley Road, Eagle, ID 83616. These three organizations cover what Don would have told people: Love your neighbors, take care of the sick, provide for the children.