James Benjamin Brown, 89, of 5100 5th Ave. S., a retired civil service employee and Army Air Corps/Air Force veteran, died of natural causes Wednesday at Peace Hospice.
His funeral is 11 a.m. Tuesday at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, followed by burial with military honors in Mount Olivet Cemetery. O'Connor Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Survivors include daughters Vicki Gliko of Belt, and Ronni White of Mount Vernon, Wash.; sons James B. Brown of Great Falls, and Terry P. Brown of Dayton; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Born to a Dutchman and Norwegian woman and the youngest of three children, Jim became one of this nation's young heroes. He was born in Main, Kan., raised in Lincoln Heights, Calif., in poverty and lost his mother as a very young boy. He learned how to work hard, and build integrity, strength in character and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He dreamed of flying or becoming a mechanic as he learned carpentry and built model airplanes. At 21 years old he became an Army Air Corps B-24 bomber pilot and found himself in 40 missions in World War II, and was shot down on his 41st. Through God's grace and mercy, he survived seven months in a POW camp, living only on faith in Jesus. He has always shared the positive of every situation he's lived through.
After being sent to Spokane, Wash., for R&R, Jim met "Miss Spokane," Alice Prevost from Sidney, Mont. Falling in love, he always said "it was the second time" he was shot down. They married and had three boys and three girls. Then the real tough times began, where his faith gave him an unending strength that never wavered. His love for his family was unconditional and was ready to help in the tough times, and ready to help anyone and everyone in need.
Jim served for 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, and retired as a major in Great Falls, Mont. He also served in the Civil Air Patrol and the DAV. He retired from the civil service in 1989. He spent the "rusty years" in Great Falls. Jim was an American hero in many people's eyes. There was seldom a tear shed unless he was speaking of His Jesus and how He carried him through his life.
Tears of Thanksgiving to the end!
He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice Brown, in 2007; a daughter, Tracy King in 1995; a son, Theodore Brown, in 2001; and a grandson, Dusty Gliko in 2005.
Condolences may be posted online at www.oconnorfuneralhome.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.