Robert B. Brougham

Obituary Condolences

Robert B. BROUGHAM Robert Burton Brougham, age 88, a native of Seattle, passed away peacefully on November 14, 2011 in southern California surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Seattle on April 25, 1923 to Herbert and Mattie Brougham. Bob was the beloved husband of Thalia Devin Brougham, and the loving father of Kerry Brougham, Mark Brougham, Devin Brougham, and Robert Brougham, Jr., grandfather to Jessica, James, Lauren, Andrei, Phillip, Timothy, Jacob, Isabel and Eric, brother to Marjorie, Milton (Bud), Barrett, Ronald, David, Doris, Kenneth, and nephew of Royal Brougham. He is survived by his children, grandchildren, and sister Doris. Bob is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, relatives and a host of friends around the world. Bob grew up in Seattle. He enjoyed a lifelong involvement in music and played the saxophone, organ, and piano. He played varsity football at Broadway High School where he was also the 1942 Class President. Before graduating, Bob's father took ill and he took time away from school to run the family business. Upon graduating, Bob enlisted in the Navy and became a commissioned officer serving as a PBY flying boat pilot in the Pacific theater during the latter part of World War II. At the War's end, he was transferred to Australia where he flew the U.S. Admiral commanding forces in Australia and New Zealand. While in Australia he met his wife Thalia, daughter of Ralph and Edna Devin, American missionaries to Ambon, Indonesia. The Devin family was in Australia awaiting their return to the mission field following the War. Bob returned to Seattle following his discharge from the Navy and attended Simpson Bible College, then began working as a commercial pilot flying between Seattle and Alaska. When the Devin family returned to Seattle on furlough, he and Thalia were married at Emmanuel Tabernacle church in December 1949. In 1950, Rev. Devin purchased a 105-foot ship for use by the mission in the Moluccan islands of Indonesia. Bob applied for the position as captain, and was at her helm during the voyage from Seattle to Ambon, and during her use in the Moluccas. The Evangel, as she was named, set sail in August 1950 from Seattle, with Bob and Thalia and crew members Rev. Devin and his son Morris, and other missionaries. The adventure-filled crossing to Jakarta was completed on January 1, 1951. Thalia was expecting their first child during the voyage, and Kerry was born later that month in Jakarta. Bob was temporarily released to another mission society to pilot their plane in East Borneo, returning to Ambon later in 1951 when Rev. Devin passed away. Their second child, Mark, was born in Makassar in 1952. Bob and Thalia continued their work with the Evangel until the Mission decided to sell her in 1953. Returning to Seattle, Bob worked at Boeing for two years during which time their third child, Devin, was born. He was then recruited by the International Cooperation Administration (ICA), part of the U.S. Department of State, to work in its Public Safety Division in Indonesia. The family returned to Jakarta in 1956, and their fourth child, Robert Jr., was born there in 1957. During his career with the U.S. Government, Bob served his country in Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, and Nigeria, with numerous tours in Washington DC. He departed Saigon on April 27, 1975 just three days before the city fell, having sponsored countless South Vietnamese to freedom. In subsequent months he worked in both Guam and Camp Pendleton, California supporting Government efforts to resettle thousands of Vietnamese refugees in the United States. Following his retirement from the U.S. Government, Bob returned to Seattle and worked again for Boeing for several years before permanently retiring. Subsequently Bob and Thalia traveled through Europe by motorcycle for nearly a year, and then moved to Singapore where he served as Acting Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators for six months. In 1986 they settled in Petaluma, California, but continued to travel extensively throughout the world, often visiting family members living abroad. In 2003, Bob returned to the Seattle area when his beloved wife Thalia passed away. For the past two years he was living in Frankfurt Germany with his daughter Kerry. In June he celebrated a warm family reunion with all his children and grandchildren on the coast of Croatia. Bob will long be remembered for his devotion to family, his strong faith, his dedication to his country, his good humor and quick wit, his sense of adventure, and for his abundant kindness and service to others. He touched countless lives the world over and leaves a legacy of true goodness. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Monday, November 21 at the University Presbyterian Church on 4540 15th Ave. N.E., in Seattle. After the service, Bob will be laid to rest next to Thalia at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery, 11111 Aurora Ave. North, Seattle.
Published in The Seattle Times on Nov. 19, 2011
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