Bessie M. Brown

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2003

Soldotna resident Bessie M. Brown died Saturday, Sept. 13, 2003, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. She was 77.

A celebration of life will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Moose Lodge No. 1942 in Kenai.

Mrs. Brown was born Oct. 12, 1925, to Everritt and Ruth Hapner in Greenville, Ohio, where she was raised and attended high school. She lived in Tillamook, Ore., where she worked as a housekeeper for the Tillamook General Hospital, from which she received the Employee of the Year award and retired in 1982 after 15 years of employment. She also owned and operated a dairy farm for five years and received the Top Dairy Honors Award from the Dairy Farmer's Association.

She was a member of the United Mennonite Church in Albany, Ore., Pleasant Valley Grange in Tillamook, Women of the Moose in Kenai and the National Antique Club for her interest and collection of classic antique cars.

Mrs. Brown received her GED in 1991 and furthered her education by receiving her CNA license from the Bay City College in Tillamook. She first came to Alaska in 1959 and lived in Eagle River. She returned to Oregon for eight years, where her husband of 43 years, Robert Allen Brown, died in October 1988. Afterward, Mrs. Brown moved to Ketchikan and then to Soldotna to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

"She was an avid gardener. She loved baking, cooking and sewing. She also enjoyed garage saling with her daughter and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Everyone she met became her friend no one was a stranger," her family said.

Mrs. Brown was preceded in death by her husband, Robert A. Brown; daughter, Mary Lou Utter and her son, Dickie Lee Brown; and four grandchildren.

She is survived by her sons and daughters in-law, Robert J. and Goldie Brown of Soldotna and Rick D. and Estrella Brown of Portland, Ore.; daughter, Nancey M. Wright of Soldotna; brother, Hap Hapner and sister, Mary Lox, both of Brenton, Fla.; grandchildren, Barney, David, Debbie, Donna and Ricky Brown, Tina Hammon, Veronica Dirks, Jaylee Harris, Monica Ivanoff, Tom Utter Jr., Michael and Cathryn Utter, Teresa Larson, Diane Crume and Christy Dillon; and 52 great-grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren and numerous other family in California, Indiana, Ohio and Florida.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 801 Fireweed Lane, Suite 103, Anchorage, AK 99503.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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