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Ernie Brown

  • "I will miss my Uncle Ernie, a good man of many talents, and..."
    - Pico Brown
  • "My prayers are with his children."
    - Barbara Presti

Ernest Weitz Brown


Ernie Brown, 80, of Winterset died Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at his home after a period of declining health due to emphysema and the surgical treatment of a brain abscess.

There will be no service and the family will…have a kegger, sack race, whatever, if any. Burial of the cremated remains will be held at a later date in Des Moines. Memorials may be directed to the Middle River Hospice in Winterset and online condolences may be left for the family at

Ernest Weitz Brown was born May 23, 1933 in Des Moines, Iowa, the second son of Robert Ankeny and Greta Weitz Brown. He attended elementary and high schools in Des Moines and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and later studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Drake University in Des Moines. He played JV football and baseball, and sang in glee clubs and student productions. At college he joined Sigma Nu social fraternity and was elected to Psi Chi, an honorary society in psychology.

Following military service with the United States Army in Europe, he first worked at Glenwood State Hospital and School in Iowa and later joined his family's businesses that combined eventually to become Brown Consolidated Corporation in Des Moines engaged in the hotel and property management business. He retired in 1982 as its president.

In the Des Moines community, Ernie was active in Boy Scouts as a Cubmaster, the Sports Car Club of America as board member and amateur competitor, the United States Sail & Power Squadrons as Commander and lecturer in nautical seamanship, piloting and navigation. He had been a Trustee of the Science Center of Iowa, and the Treasurer of the Des Moines Symphony Association. He also served in Volunteers in Probation and with the Iowa Runaway Service. For a brief period, he was a volunteer investigator for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

Through his life, Ernie traveled in many countries and actively pursued interest in languages, photography, family history, walking and extensive reading in a variety of subjects. One of his photographs won an honorable mention in a contest by Travel Magazine. He took particular pleasure in being a singer and instrumentalist in a trio with architect, John Wetherell and teacher, Ruth Ludwig-Miller presenting programs of ethnic and folk music during the 1960s and 70s. His friends knew him as an entertaining raconteur, frequently holding forth on sex, religion and politics.

After major surgery in 2001, he moved to Winterset from Des Moines to be with his former wife, Judy Brown who passed away in 2009, and with his children Lory Aleman, Cynthia (Russ) Keating and Todd (Lori) Brown, his seven grandchildren, Jon and Nicolas Aleman; Justin and Sam Keating; plus Cody, Hunter, and Rachel Brown, and then two great grandsons, Harper Aleman, son of Jon and Haley Aleman and Carter Aleman, son of Nicolas and Taylor Aleman. Also surviving is his brother Phil Brown of Des Moines.


Published in Des Moines Register on Dec. 22, 2013
Funeral Home
Ochiltree Funeral Service & Aftercare
1823 N. John Wayne Dr. Winterset, IA 50273
(515) 462-4080
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