Donald Brown

Donald K. Brown

1939 - 2023

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Obituary of Donald K. Brown

Donald (Don) Keith Brown son of Florence and Jay Brown, brother of Norma Murphy (Gerald), Fred Brown (Naomi) and Larry Brown (Carolyn) passed away peacefully with family by his side on April, 16, 2023 at the University of Iowa Hospital Hospice following a brief illness.

A funeral will be held 1:00 PM on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 123 East Market Street, Iowa City, IA with a luncheon following the service at the church.  Don's funeral service will be livestreamed through Gloria Dei's Livestream site (   All are welcome to attend.  A burial service will be held on July 16, 2023, at Saint John’s Lutheran Cemetery Bellevue, IA. 

Don was born in Bellevue, Iowa on July 16, 1939.  Don was proud to have been born in Bellevue.  He often spoke of the natural beauty and the beauty of the people, his friends, that called Bellevue home.  He often reminisced of how he and his buddies would play and explore Mill Creek, behind St. Joseph’s cemetery on Jefferson Street.  Whenever he visited Bellevue, he always wanted to visit folks he knew and see the beautiful view from Bellevue State Park. 

At the age of 15, Don and his family moved to Iowa City, where he attended Central High in Iowa City. He often reminisced about how he was befriended by the school custodian, who allowed him to shoot baskets in the gymnasium after school.  Don loved playing basketball.  This love of basketball bloomed when he moved to Iowa City.  It was a natural progression for Don to become a lifelong University of Iowa Hawkeye fan.  In particular, he always watched the U of I Women’s Basketball team, go Caitlin Clark!!  If you wanted to know when and where to watch the games, all you had to do was to call Uncle Don.

Don held key roles in assisting many local businesses to be successful as a part of their support teams.  For many years Don along with his parents, and occasional help from other family members, were the people responsible for the cleaning of the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City.  This was when it was a movie theatre in the 1970’s.  This work at the Englert provided Don a vehicle to pursue another of his passions; as an avid movie goer.  As a benefit of working at the Englert, he received a free movie pass.  With this pass Don saw nearly every movie that came through Iowa City during the 1970s. Although he saw all types of movies his favorites were always Westerns.  He particularly enjoyed movies starring the Duke, John Wayne.

Following his work at the University Athletic Club, Don began another support role, working in the kitchen at the VA hospital in Iowa City.  Don worked at the VA hospital for 27 years until his retirement in 2007.  He would often return to visit his friends there following his retirement.  He was grateful for his years of service at the VA and of the friends he made there.

Don’s love of the old-time western life portrayed in the movies he grew up with, felt comfortable to him and filled his own persona.  Don could always be found wearing a western shirt, western pants or blue jeans, cowboy boots and his black Stetson cowboy hat.  Don had a large collection of VHS tapes and DVDs of the old Westerns.  When the Grit channel came to Iowa City it became a channel Don watched daily, helping him get his “Western movie” and “Western program” fix.

Another passion Don possessed was that of utilizing public transportation.  He was an avid rider of the Iowa City and Coralville city buses.  Don always had an annual pass.  He was most proud of the “lifetime” pass he received at retirement age.  He knew most of the bus drivers by their first names.  If Don was not on the bus, he was walking or riding his bike.  His family members have all been told at one time of another over the years, “Hey I saw Don walking the other day….”  If he wanted to be somewhere or something he walked or took the bus. 

Don was a Life Member since 1962 of Loyal Order of Moose both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids Lodges.

Don was a member of Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Bellevue, IA and a longtime member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City, IA.  Don believed in Jesus Christ his savior, prayed to God daily and Don believed he was going to Heaven.  Thank you to both Pastor Rogers.

Don was a kind, gentle, loving, and generous soul who may have never met a stranger. Through his life Don has made many friends and acquaintances.  And those people along with his family will miss his positive and boisterous enthusiasm very much.

Preceded in death by his parents, sister Norma, and brother Larry.

Survived by his brother Fred, many nieces and nephews, and many more great nieces and nephew and still yet great great nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the University of Iowa Hospitals for the exceptional and loving care that Don received during his illness.  They include but are not limited to; the 4RCE Team, the 6RCE team, the 7RCE Hospice Team, the Internal Medicine Team(s), the Oncology Team(s), the Interventional Radiology Team, the Infectious Disease Team, and the Urology Team.  Special thanks to Dr. Fred Ovrum, a generous person who always took the time to help Don and folks like Don.  Thank you to the University of Iowa Rehabilitation Hospital, Mercy Urology and Mercy Hospital.  All these folks treated Don like he was part of their family.

In lieu of flowers or donations the family would encourage anyone wanting to honor Don, to give to CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank of Iowa City or to the charity of their choice.


Funeral Service

1:00 pm
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
123 East Market Street
Iowa City, Iowa, United States