Friday, March 10, 2023
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Reflecting on the life of Rich Brown, words such as devoted and compassionate come to mind, yet the word that is most fitting to describe him is selfless. Rich had a generous heart and loved to spend time with his family together over the years. He leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories sure to be shared for generations to come.
Not much could be said about the 1940s without some reference to WWII. Richard David Brown was born to David and Geraldine (TePastte) Brown on July 14, 1944, in Oak Park, Illinois. Born the oldest of three children, his birth brought great joy and happiness into their lives at a tumultuous time in history. Rich was a great brother and remained close to his sisters Lynn Brown-Halbert and Christine Brown-Shaffer, these were true connections that remained important until the very last days.
Rich’s childhood growing up in Chicago was filled with joyful memories. He had a creative side as a result of his exposure to the area arts and music as a family. Living under the electric train he was known to spend his time hanging from the tracks and finding his way in the city. By the time he was around the age of six or seven, the family moved from Chicago to the Grand Rapids area so his mother could be closer to family. Eventually, they ended up in a home in Jenison.
Active and always on the go, Rich enjoyed welding and playing outside. As a youngster, he welded his sisters' two bikes together and hid them so they would not ride them! At the age of nine or ten, Rich developed rheumatic fever and was unable to attend school. During this time, he taught his sisters to play Chess and other games. Ambitious and studious, he attended Bursley School until he transferred to Grandville High School. Rich loved being involved in car groups in high school. Never one to remain idle, he was in the process of converting his car into a drag racer, keeping this secret until his dad discovered his seatbelts which were not common in cars of that day. He poured every ounce of energy into anything he set his mind to doing.
After graduation, he entered the Air Force. Rich was proud to serve in England during the Vietnam War. He was thrilled to put his skills to use as an aircraft mechanic specifically on the U2 spy planes and the B54 bombers. A highlight was engaging in some reconnaissance missions spying on the Russians. During his time, he met his first wife, Lorraine. They married and welcomed home their firstborn son, Fraser while living in England. Later when they returned to the states, David and Teresa were born. Rich enjoyed being a father and engaging in life with his children, he was always a very doting father who love his children dearly.
As a provider, Rich started doing electrical work and moved into sales. He enjoyed selling products for insurance companies, as well as Berger Chevrolet, House of Windows, and Cardinal Remolding. His marriage to Lorraine ended after ten years. His second wife, Dawn was met on a night out at the People’s Lounge. They shared a beautiful marriage and enjoyed fishing in the pond at their home as well as riding in the paddle boat and enjoying the outdoors. Rich and Dawn were pleased to welcome Melissa and Ben into the family. Rich admitted that a blended family was difficult at times, however, he succeeded at provided for his children. As a father, he shared his love of Chess and encouraged each of his children to enjoy their special interests. He enjoyed studying the Bible with Dawn as well as attending Resurrection Life and First Assembly. Rich’s faith was a pillar to lean on with the passing of many family members and other difficult situations. Rich provided support and encouragement to his family through his absolute devotion to Jesus Christ. A highlight of their years together was a trip they took out west on their Indian motorcycles. Rich enjoyed his role as a father and husband and took wonderful care of his family.
Retirement afforded him more time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Rich enjoyed playing poker and had many lifelong friends doing so. Rich enjoyed his Saturday nights spent with these great friends, and the great game of poker. He loved fly fishing, golfing, and later in life drawing with his sisters. He looked forward to family cookouts and playing with his grandchildren. Rich loved each and every one of them and made them each feel special in his presence. Rich moved in with his daughter Melissa after Dawn passed away in 2015 where he spent the remainder of his life under her care and having a special bond with his grandchildren. Especially important were the family cookouts, water balloon fights, and having fun in the outdoors. A few years ago, his dream came true when he purchased a cottage on Chippewa Lake. The cottage provided the perfect setting for entertaining and relaxing.
Above all, Rich was a man of integrity. He never overpromised or under-delivered. While he was never one to talk much about himself, those that knew him well would say that he was a smart businessman, handy, kind, and loved by all who knew him. May his loved ones never doubt the immense love he held in his heart for each and every one of them and may his special memories be eternal.
Richard (Rich) David Brown, completed his life journey on this earth and started his eternal journey in the presence of our Lord on February 2, 2023. Rich was born in the summer of 1944 to the late David and Geraldine (TePastte) Brown. He was also preceded in death by his first wife Lorraine Jacobs-Brown, and his wife of 36 years Dawn Brown. Left to cherish all he gave them are his children, Melissa Brown-Culbertson, Teresa (Richard) Ducham, Fraser Brown, David Brown, and Benjamin Brown. The memories of Richard will continue to remain in his grandchildren, Corey, Crystal, Eian, Calen, Dakota, Elliott, Autumn, and Fraser Jr, and his sisters Lynn Brown-Halbert and Christine Brown-Shaffer. In alignment with Richards' desires, cremation has taken place. Richard’s family will meet with friends and family on Friday, March 10, 2023, from 12 to 2 pm with military honors provided at 2:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave. N.E. Interment will be in Rosedale Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, Rich recommends memorial donations to Emmanuel Hospice. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory, or photo or to sign the guestbook online.