Dr. Jack L. “Doc” Brown passed away on Nov. 2, 2022, at the Colorado State Veterans Center at Homelake in Monte Vista surrounded by family after 98 years of life full of love, service and adventure. Dr. Brown was born on Aug. 17, 1924, in the small town of Stratton, Neb., to Dr. Lionel B. (L.B.) Brown and Nina (Hostetter) Brown.
Young Jack and his two brothers, Al and Dick, were blessed with parents who appreciated their sons’ shenanigans. Together the three brothers had the run of their small, western Nebraska town and they had a childhood filled with legendary adventures. Jack regaled the generations that followed with stories of his childhood. He was an excellent student and a star athlete, excelling in six-man football and basketball.
Dr. Brown was proud World War II veteran. He enlisted in the Marines and served in the Military Police in Pearl Harbor. He was discharged from the Marines in California in 1945 where he worked in construction for six months while he waited for his brother, Dick to return from the War. As soon as Dick was discharged, the two brothers rode a 1945 Indian motorcycle from California home to Stratton. Always the patriot, Dr. Brown, raised, lowered and folded an American flag in his front yard every day until he moved to assisted living after which the flag continued to fly at his home in his honor.
After the war, Dr. Brown enrolled in the University of Nebraska School of Dentistry. He returned to Stratton on his summer vacations where he met a young nurse’s aide living and working at the Stratton Hospital. Jack and Phyllis League were married on Aug. 4, 1952 and became an inseparable pair, returning to Lincoln together where Jack completed Dental School and graduated in 1954.
Dr. and Mrs. Brown made a leap of faith and moved to Monte Vista, Colo., opening the Dental Office at 136 Adams St. Many will remember following the sign that read “Painless Dentist Upstairs” and climbing the stairs to the second-floor dental office where Dr. Brown practiced dentistry with Phyllis at his side for the next 30 years. Dr. Brown provided more than dental care for generations of Monte Vista residents — he was equal parts dentist, entertainer, friend and confidante. He cared for his patients as if they were his family. Dr. and Mrs. Brown passed their gifts for caring for their friends and neighbors to their children and grandchildren amongst whom are multiple caregivers and medical professionals.
Dr. and Mrs. Brown raised four children: Sherry, Shirley, John and Kim. An avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, Jack and his family enjoyed fishing and camping in the summers at Santa Maria reservoir. He was animal lover since early childhood and four-legged friends were ever-present in the Brown house. The family once kept a pet racoon (until she wore out her welcome) and there was almost always a dachshund sitting upright with Jack in his armchair.
After retirement from Dentistry in the mid-1980s, Jack and Phyllis filled their days with the pursuit of their multiple hobbies. They were known for their beautiful garden which they tended together well into their 80s. There were apples to press into cider in the fall, rhubarb to make into pies, and raspberries for the little ones to eat right from the bushes. Everyone could count on a treat from the garden or the kitchen when they visited the Browns. The two could often be found enjoying a cool drink in the yard and visitors could hear a story from the early days in Stratton while Jack kneaded bread at the wooden chopping block in the middle of the kitchen.
Jack and Phyllis loved to shoot trap and were long-time members of the Del Monte Gun Club where he was known for his home re-loaded shotgun shells (which packed varying degrees of power). Dr. Brown always loved riding motorcycles and he and Phyllis enjoyed cross-country trips on their BMW. There was nothing that he could not fix or weld from scrap metal and potato digger-links. He passed his love of hunting to his children and grandchildren — freezing cold San Luis Valley mornings hunting ducks with Grandpa are treasured memories.
Dr. Brown was preceded in death by his parents Dr. L.B. and Nina, his brothers, Al and Dick, sister-in-law Delores Campbell, and his beloved wife of nearly 70 years, Phyllis.
He is survived by children Sherry King, Shirley (Lynn) McCullough, John (Kimberly) Brown and Kim (Cyndy) Brown as well as his brother-in-law Dick Campbell, sister-in-Law Norma Thomas, niece Rita Crose, nephew Mike (Teresa) Brown and niece Lori Campbell-Miller. He is additionally survived by his eight grandchildren and their spouses, and many great-grandchildren.
Dr. Brown’s contributions to the world through his love for his family, adventurous spirit, humor, and service to his country and his many patients will not be long forgotten.
A private family service will be held at a later date. To express condolences to the family, please visit www.rogersfunerals.com Memorial Contributions can be made in care of Rogers Family Mortuary in Alamosa, Colo.