Former Peninsula resident Sandra Jo (Sam) Brown died Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011, in Yuma, Ariz,. after a battle with cancer. She was 52.
Ms. Brown was born March 23, 1958, to Joe Frank and Donna Mae Keeney, in Enterprise, Ore., the youngest of four. Her family moved to the Soldotna area in 1968. She attended Soldotna Elementary and Soldotna Jr. highs schools and graduated from Kenai Central High School in 1975 one year ahead of her class.
She grew up fishing with her dad -- both for sport and commercially -- and after losing him to cancer in 1974, she was diligent in passing on her fond memories of that time to her own family.
While still in high school she began working in a co-op program with the Soldotna Police Department and Alaska State Troopers in 1974. She continued to work there while starting a family of her own. She married Jim Brown in 1976 and had three children over the following years.
Ms. Brown worked as a dispatcher at the Kenai Police and Fire Department from 1986 until she relocated to the Fort Yuma area in 1996. In Yuma she began working for a small, family-run insurance adjusters' office where her skills and outgoing personality led her to become a licensed insurance adjuster working in the states of Arizona and California.
Her family said: "Sam always put her friends and family above her own needs. Being a dependable provider and fierce protector of her family, she never swayed from that character even up to her final days. She is and will be greatly missed by many."
Ms. Brown was preceded in death by her father, Joe Frank Keeney.
She is survived by her mother, Donna Mae Thomason, of Clarkston, Wash.; siblings Frank and Helen Keeney, of Lewiston, Idaho; Ruth and Justin McCarroll, of Kingman, Ariz.; and Corla Dale, of Clarkston; her companion of 17 years, Dennis Black, of Winterhaven, Calif.; ex-husband, Jim Brown, of Soldotna; children Aaron and Eimi Brown, of Soldotna; Jimmy Brown, of Soldotna; and Alexis and Josh Arledge, of El Paso, Texas; grandsons Thomas and Trever Brown, of Soldotna; granddaughters Evan and Maddie Arledge, of El Paso; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
A celebration of life was held at her family's home on the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Reservation Jan. 27, 2011. Additional services to be held in Alaska (tentative) summer 2011. Her aAshes are to be placed with her father's gravesite in Kasilof, along with ashes of beloved family pet bulldog, Willoughby,
In lieu of gifts or flowers the family asks to please make contributions to the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance.
Condolences can be sent to the family in care of Jim Brown, PO Box 1824, Soldotna, Alaska, 99669 or to Dennis Black, 1107 S. 5th Ave. #87, Yuma, Ariz. 85364.
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