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James Edwin Brown

October 30, 1928 December 2, 2019
James Edwin Brown
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Obituary for James Edwin Brown

James Edwin Brown, also known as “Jim,” and as “Brownie” to family and close boyhood friends, died during the night of December 1-2. He was 91. James Edwin Brown was born October 30, 1928, in Ransom, Illinois. He was the fourth of four children of Peter Edwin and Helena Agnes (Alfter) Brown. With a manpower shortage during World War II, he worked a construction job at age 14-15, helping build housing for the workers at the Seneca shipyard. He graduated from Streator Township High School in 1946. Upon graduation he traveled with one of his best friends from Ransom, Jack Higgins, along US Route 66 from Pontiac to California and back. Upon their return, and after a final fill up of the gas tank in Pontiac, the two young men had less than $2 between them for the final few miles to Ransom.

In the post-war years he found another construction job, now helping build the Argonne National Laboratory. He entered the Army in January 1951 and served in the Korean War starting June 1951. During the war he served in Company C, 76th Engineer Construction Battalion, 8th Army, at various places throughout the Korean peninsula: Taejon, Seoul, Wagwan, Kwangju, Songjeong-mi, Nonsan, and Yong Dong Po. He attained the rank of sergeant, and his unit was awarded citations from both the South Korean and US governments for the construction of roads, airfields and flood control measures.

He returned to the United States in October 1952, and the following month—on November 29—married his high school sweetheart, Evelyn Jean Hultman, at St. Stephen’s church in Streator. Throughout the 1950s Jim worked as a salesman for Illinois Fruit & Produce in Streator, Illinois. Circa 1959-1961 Jim and Evelyn operated a summer resort at Chetek, Wisconsin. The resort had been a favorite vacation spot for his family during his boyhood.

Returning to Streator, he worked in sales at Anthony Co., and later at the International Harvester dealership. In 1968 he was offered a job with a new IH truck dealership in Freeport, and thus moved the family to that town in northern Illinois. In 1972 he took a sales position with Monroe Machine & Welding. As the company’s sole salesman, he was in part responsible for the phenomenal growth of the company, which quickly expanded—now under the name of Monroe Truck Equipment—to several locations in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Fishing was his biggest passion, and Jim spent much time in retirement at the Tiger Musky Resort near Hayward, Wisconsin. He volunteered as an assistant scoutmaster for his son’s Boy Scout troop, and was president of the youth baseball organization in Freeport. From the time he served as an alter boy at St. Patrick’s church in Ransom until he suffered stroke in 2013, he remained a regular church-goer.

James Edwin Brown was proceeded in death by his wife Evelyn (1985); both parents, his older brother William; his oldest sister Frances; and one daughter-in-law, Lori. He is survived by his sister Jean Harrison of Streator; his son James (Oak Park, IL); William (Milan, IL); and Robert (Plymouth, England). He is also survived by six grandchildren: Alexander, Andrew, Shaun, Stephen, Tory and Lena.

Funeral Mass will be held 11:00 a.m. Friday December 6, 2019 at St. Joseph Catholic Church,
Freeport. Fr. Timothy Barr will officiate. Visitation will be 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Thursday December 5, 2019 at Burke Tubbs Funeral Home. Also, from 10-10:45 a.m. Friday at Burke-Tubbs. Burial will be in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. Please sign Jim's guestbook and share a remembrance at

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Previous Events





4:00 PM 12/5/2019 4:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 12/5/2019 7:00:00 PM
Burke-Tubbs Funeral Home - Freeport Location

504 N. Walnut
Freeport, IL 61032

Burke-Tubbs Funeral Home - Freeport Location
504 N. Walnut Freeport 61032 IL
United States





11:00 AM 12/6/2019 11:00:00 AM
St. Joseph Catholic Church

229 West Washington Place
Freeport, IL 61032

St. Joseph Catholic Church
229 West Washington Place Freeport 61032 IL
United States

Cemetery Details


Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens Final Resting Place

2514 IL 26
Freeport, IL 61032

2514 IL 26 Freeport 61032 IL
United States

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