Charles “Charlie” Brown was born in Seattle, the third child of 10 children born to Lowell (Lou) and Margaret Brown. They resided in Martha Lake until moving the family to San Juan Island in 1956 where Charlie attended Friday Harbor High School. Instead of graduating with the class of 1958 he enlisted in the United States Air Force, completing basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He then went to Albuquerque, New Mexico where there were three bases: Kirkland, Sandia and Manzano.
He was given the highest security clearance for an Air Force Police Officer and guarded on Manzano from 1958–1962. He was on highest alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis when the base was on lockdown until the crisis was diffused. A high point of his service career was being part of the National Shooting Team. He competed in many matches and his team went to the finals at Camp Perry, Ohio where they won top awards as a team and individuals.
While in New Mexico, Charlie met Linda Anne Talmage. His discharge from active service was Dec. 7, 1962; he and Linda were married on Dec. 17, 1962. Then… “Friday Harbor, here we come.” He went to work for his farther doing carpentry, building many homes that are part of the Friday Harbor community today. Both of their sons were born in Friday Harbor: Tom in 1964 and David in 1966.
Charlie was always civic minded – one of his first acts was to become a volunteer fireman for the Town of Friday Harbor. Few others of note were building bleachers at the fairgrounds, coaching little league baseball and teaching hunter safety classes to many island youth.
He began his career as a commercial gill netter in 1964, first with a Bristol Bay hull Linda Ann then a few short years later with the brand new 36’ gill netter Linda Ann. He also had reef net gear off Lopez and Stuart islands and was always in the top percentile for catches. He was part of the International Sockeye Commission between U.S. and Canada. In conjunction with that he built fish boxes and was instrumental in planting eggs in the stream at the UW Labs. After many successful years commercial fishing in Alaska and the San Juans, Charlie joined as numerous vessels of all types blocked Friday Harbor and kept the ferry from landing in a peaceful protest of the Ninth Circuit Court’s controversial decision.
Charlie and Linda left the island in 1985. He did commercial carpentry work in Seattle before moving to Colville in 1986 to build homes and commercial buildings. They then moved to Bothell where Charlie worked as a craftsman carpenter on many notable homes on Hunts Point, Yarrow Point, Alki and Medina with Talbott Construction Company. During that time, Charlie became a member of Eastside Foursquare Church and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. He became part of Eastside’s International Mission Project and Construction Teams with which he made several trips to build one-bedroom homes in Tijuana’s Valley Verde dumps and barrios as well as make improvements to a Youth With A Mission base.
Charlie and Linda returned to Friday Harbor in 2000 and joined the Oaks Community. He worked for Tom Brown Construction until showing signs of dementia. After that he grew several pony tails to send to Locks of Love which gave him purpose in his diminishing mind.
He was a great dad and grand dad who loved spending time in the outdoors hunting, fishing and foraging for blackberries with friends and family. His sons and grandchildren, boys and girls alike, can hunt with the best of them. He passed his love of carpentry on to his sons and grandsons. He loved being with his family until Alzheimer’s robbed him of the ability to enjoy such activities, but not his memory of them.
He is survived by his Friday Harbor family: wife Linda; son Tom, wife Terri and their daughters Rachael, Megan, MacKenzie and Laura; son David and wife Kristine, their sons Carson and Connor and Carson’s wife Grace. His surviving siblings Anna, Judy, Peggy and John live in Northwest Washington along with dozens of nieces and nephews.
American Legion Military Funeral Honors and a Christian memorial service will be held at Valley Church and Cemetery on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. followed by a reception and time of sharing at the American Legion at 2 p.m.