A member of the greatest generation, Dale E. Brown, 95, of Colorado Springs died on October 9, 2017, at the Pikes Peak Hospice Unit at Penrose Hospital after a lengthy rehabilitation stay at Advanced Healthcare subsequent to a fall in his home in mid-August.
Dale was born on September 8, 1922, in Highfield, Pennsylvania to Charles and Clara (Wagle) Brown. He graduated high school in 1940 and worked in a steel mill. After Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in 1942, achieving the rank of First Lieutenant. Accepted as a pilot candidate, he agreed to become a bombardier as the need for such was greater. At age 21 with the 603rd Bombardment Squadron, 398th Bomb Group, he flew 17 successful missions in 1944 on a B-17 Flying Fortress. On the 18th mission on October 28, 1944, his plane was shot down. After parachuting from the plane, he was captured and held in a German POW camp until being liberated in mid-1945 upon the surrender of Germany. He received the European Theater Ribbon, Air Medal, Two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation and POW medal. He was married on July 28, 1945, to Dorothy Finn who he met in 1943 during training at Ellsworth Army Air Base, South Dakota.
Dale worked as a carpenter, boat manufacturer, and as a Project Engineer with the United States Army Corps of Engineers in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming and in Colorado Springs. He supervised construction at various locations, including ICBM missile sites in North and South Dakota and Wyoming, at the Air Force Academy, Fort Carson and in hurricane relief efforts along the Gulf coast. He retired in the mid-1980’s.
His hobbies included camping, fishing, dancing and snowbirding in Arizona. He was a pioneer in solar heating. He served as the President of Groups Memorial, Inc., an organization responsible for the Air Force Academy Air Garden which includes bronze models of World War II aircraft. Dale was active in the 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association, hosting a reunion with his wife in Colorado Springs in 1986. He served as the president of the Carpenter’s union in Rapid City, SD, in the 1950’s, taught at trade schools and served on the Board of Education in Rapid City.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Dorothy (Finn), who resides in Colorado Springs; his son, Robert (Denver); grandsons, Michael Brown (Chicago) and Paul Brown (New Orleans); great grandson, Larry (Chicago); and his daughter in law, Kathy Brown (Chicago). Preceding him in death were his parents, two brothers, two sisters and his son, Larry (Chicago). He took great pride in his children, grandchildren and grandchild. He was simply a good and decent man who, later in life, loved to share poignant and humorous stories about defending his country and his time as a POW.
Mr. Brown was a member of the congregation of Ascension Lutheran Church since 1966. Services will be held at Ascension Lutheran Church, 2505 N. Circle Drive, Colorado Springs on October 18 at 11:00 a.m., and interment will follow at the Ascension Columbarium. Lunch will be served. Flowers may be sent or delivered to Ascension Lutheran Church.