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Gordon Summers Brown

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Gordon Summers BROWN "He made a straw hat and overalls look elegant ..." Shane Gordon Summers Brown was born at American Lake, WA. He attended high schools in Seattle, San Francisco, and in the New York area before graduation from Dartmouth College. After naval training at Columbia University in 1942 he was ordered to take a landing craft, LCI(L), designed by Lord Louis Mountbattan across the Atlantic as Executive Officer. During maneuvers in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia he was given captaincy of his own ship for beach assaults on Pantelleria, Gela, and Licata in Sicily, followed by Salerno and Anzio, Italy. He carried General Patton's Third Division to these landings. He received the Navy and Marine Corps medal of honor for diving into the sea amidst oil and flames to help rescue British seaman whose ship had been hit by German aircraft. His ship traversed the Mediterranean dozens of times carrying fresh Allied troops to Italy, returning with German and Italian prisoners for camps in North Africa. In 1944, his ship was ordered to Penarth, Wales and then to the south coast of Brittany where his flotilla practiced for the assault on France. His ship, carrying 200 U.S. soldiers landed at Normandy beach June 6. After many channel crossings bringing fresh troops to France, Brown was ordered to Ardrossan, Scotland relinquishing his ship to Britain. He was then flown to Coronado, CA and took command of a rocket ship, sailing it across the pacific into the Asian theater of war to the Philippines, Eniwetok, Kwajalein, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Formosa and Okinawa, Japan. In 1946 he was discharged from the navy at Bremerton, WA. He was appointed by the State Department to serve as Vice-Counsel to Berlin but declined the assignment in order to marry Lois Stretton in Seattle. For many years he was manager of the Studio of Interior Design, the furniture and antiques section of Frederick & Nelson. He divorced in mid-life and became a painter and sculptor. He traveled widely, circling the globe ten times, while sleeping in native hostels, eating from street markets, and visiting all countries of the world except five. His memoir "To No Nameless End" was published in 2004. In October 2008, he held an exhibition of three years' work - sculpture, collage, and paintings - the proceed of which were donated to the Greater Seattle Business Association for youth educational scholarships. His son Stretton died in 2008. He is survived by daughter Shane Brown Bumbalo, grandson Lucas Bumbalo, and brother Bruce Brown of Seattle. He played an important role as god-father and mentor in the lives of many including Hubert de Givenchey, Andrew Daggatt, Anne Bartley, David Skinner, Zecca Lehn, Javas Lehn, Michael Schultheis, Brett Nelson, Oscar Velasco-Schmitz, Terry Welch and Steve Shanaman. Gordon, fondly known by friends around the world as Gordini, had a genius for friendship. As an acquaintance commented upon hearing the news, "He was artistic, tall and grand, mysterious and charming, experienced, modern - but at the same time from the past - like an icon". His lifelong creativity, curiosity, and engagement inspired countless generations who looked to his example for living an authentic life. Still actively creating his unique art and mid-way through his second book, he died at home, peacefully, in his sleep on July 1, 2010.
Published in The Seattle Times on July 4, 2010
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