William Curtiss "Bill" Brown, a long-time Kingman resident, passed away Monday, July 6, 2009, at the age of 83. Bill was born on April 11, 1926, to Dexter Curtis and Eva Reaser Brown in Covington, Ky.
As a young child, he lived with his family on a farm in Michigan, but at the age of 6, his family moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where Bill lived until 1943 when, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Navy to defend his country during World War II. He was sent to Pearl Harbor where he became part of the crew of a "Landing Craft Tank" in the West Pacific.
In late 1944, suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, he spent six months in a Navy hospital in Norman, Okla., and received an honorable discharge in 1945. He rejoined his family who had moved to Gallup, N.M., but soon went back to Fort Wayne and enrolled in an art school.
In December of 1946, Bill went back to Gallup to spend Christmas with his family. This time, Bill saw a beautiful woman and insisted his brother introduce them "now." He met Virginia Foster that day, and nine days later, they were married. They were married 62-1/2 years when he passed away. Bill and his new bride went back to Fort Wayne for one more semester of art school and then returned to New Mexico and on to Parker, Ariz., where Bill took a job with BLM at Parker Dam.
Their first child was born in Parker Dam, and soon the young family moved to Winslow, where Bill took a job with the Santa Fe Railroad. In Winslow, another child was born. Bill and Virginia decided they wanted to raise their children in Kingman, so in 1953, they packed up and moved to Kingman, which became "home."
Bill first worked at Hafley Supermarket and then at Central Commercial. In 1956, he became a guard at Ford Proving Grounds where he worked for 10 years. In 1966, the family moved to the Phoenix area for 10 years, but in 1976, they eagerly returned home to Kingman, where Bill worked for the city of Kingman the next 20 years; he retired at the age of 70.
When Bill was 9 years old, he and his parents discovered his artistic talents. Throughout his life, he drew and painted, and connected dots. He earned the name "the Dot Man." He loved to have people scatter dots on a blank sheet of paper and delighted them by connecting the dots in such a way as to create a beautiful picture.
He painted a 105-by-17-foot mural on the Palo Christi Elementary School outside the gymnasium wall and sculpted a life-sized miner, also on display there. In the 1980s, he constructed the Andy Devine Room in the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. He sold some of his work but preferred to give his artwork to his friends and relatives. In 1954-1956, he built a home for his family and later turned the hull of a fishing boat into a beautiful cabin boat. He was a very creative and talented man, and a kind man who loved to help others.
Bill had a serious battle with cancer that began in 1987, for which he had a total of 15 surgeries, the last being in November of 1992. Bill and his family will forever be grateful for the love and support shown to them by so many wonderful friends during that time.
A few years later, Bill was declared cancer-free and remained cancer-free for the rest of his life. In 2003, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which he battled valiantly but to which he finally succumbed. He will be missed.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers and one sister. He is survived by his wife, Virginia Charlotte Brown; three children, Jacqueline Kay Gutierrez, Norma Jean Murphy-Flasher and Michael Curtiss Brown; four grandchildren, Erik Thomas Murphy, Brian Eugene Murphy, Tricia Victoria Gutierrez and William Curtiss Brown II; and one great-granddaughter, Kathryn Nicole; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, brothers- and sisters- in law.
There will be a memorial service at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, 400 W. Beale St.