It is with great sadness we announce the death of a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Alec passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 24 at the Chilliwack General Hospital at the age of 92.
He is survived by his son Peter and daughter-in-law Kathy, his five grandchildren, Jeff (Andra), Jenny Malcolm (Christian), Cameron, Carter and Hunter Brown and their mother, Manly Mearns. He also leaves behind two great- grandchildren Justine and Evan.
Alec was predeceased by his parents, James (1964) and Rene (1961), his wife of nearly 50 years, Phyllis (1993), his son, Richard (2004), and his sister Edna and brother-in-law Mel Keppy.
Alec was born on August 4, 1914 (the start of the Great War) in Carshalton, Surrey, England. His parents lived in China and Alec attended school at Clifton College in Bristol, England.
His mother visited once a year often stopping in Vancouver on the way to and from England.
Upon graduation Alec went to business school in Neutchatel, Switzerland where he developed a life-long love of the French language.
His first job was with Imperial Tobacco. Seeking adventure he traveled to India as a tobacco grader and inspector. When World War II broke out Alec enlisted in the British Army and was assigned to the 10th Baluchi Regiment. On Armistice Day, 1943, Captain Brown married volunteer army nurse, Phyllis Noreen White whose family had lived in India for generations. Their two sons Peter and Richard were both born in India.
In 1951, after traveling twice around the world seeking a new home, the Brown family left India permanently and settled in Vancouver near Alec’s parents. Alec lived in his beloved house on West 30th Avenue for 53 years. During that time he worked for Rendell Tractor, Thorne Riddell and the Canadian Excise Department.
He was elected a Life Member of the Society of Management Accountants of British Columbia in 1983 and a Honourary life member of the Vancouver Board of Trade in 2002. Alec was a member of the Old Cliftonian Society (UK), the Royal Ocean Racing Club (UK) and the Vancouver and Chilliwack chapters of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). At the age of 69 Alec obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC majoring in French literature. Six years later, in 1989 he received his Master of Arts degree from UBC. His thesis was on the poet Apollinaire. At 75 he was the same age as the university and the oldest member of the graduating class.
In 2005 Alec moved to Chilliwack to be closer to his son Peter.
Our family would like to thank Dr. Neil Hilliard, the Lynnwood Retirement Residence, the Netcare staff at Parkholm Lodge and the intermediate care staff at the Waverly Seniors Village. All of you contributed to making the last 28 months of Alec’s life as comfortable as possible. Your many kindnesses will not be forgotten.
Alec will be remembered for his unfailing optimism and inquiring mind. He was a life-long learner and never stopped pursuing information with great enthusiasm. He had a facility for languages and could converse in Russian, French and Hindi. Until the end he was uncomplaining and accepting of his life. He often joked that his initials A.W. stood for “Awfully Wobbly.”
A funeral service will be held at St. Thomas Anglican Church, Chilliwack, on Tuesday, June 5, at 11:00am. If desired, donations can be made in memory of Alexander Brown to St. Thomas Church Building Fund, 46048 Gore Ave., Chilliwack, B.C., V2P 1Z6.