Former Douglas resident Dota E. Brown died at 11 a.m. Oct. 31, 2008, surrounded by family at his home in Juneau. He was 95.
Born Dec. 5,1912, in Henry, Ill., to Nort A. Brown and Myrtle (Carrier) Brown, he finished high school in Henry and worked with his father at a local duck hunting club until moving to Juneau with Clancy Henkins in 1938.
When World War II broke out, he made his way to Fort Chilkoot, the U.S. Army post in Haines, and enlisted to fight. Briefly stationed in Alaska, he was reassigned at the conclusion of the Aleutian campaign and was stationed for a brief time in Texas before signing up to be a paratrooper.
He was sent to Fort Bennings, Ga., for paratrooper school. Then in 1945, he was sent into the European campaign, where he suffered a broken leg during a jump near the Belgian border, which ended his military career. He received many ribbons while in the Army.
After returning to the states, he accepted an invitation from Clancy Henkins to travel to Alaska and help build his fishing boat, even though he was leaving his family and many friends behind in Illinois.
The next year, in 1946, he built his own boat, the Edna, and later bought a bigger boat, the Drifter. With these boats he fished the waters of Southeast for 30 years before his old war injury forced him to quit. He always said he missed the camaraderie and freedom of commercial fishing.
He was a member of the Henry American Legion and Pioneers Igloo 6 of Juneau. On April 21, 1966, he married Lois Pence (Thiel). They lived with Jens Aarp on First Street in Douglas for a while then moved to the Vinson Apartments and finally bought the Mills house (Gordon and Jack) at the corner of Fourth and B streets in Douglas.
According to the family, he enjoyed sport fishing, hunting, gun smithing, building specialty rifles and ammunition, as well as spending time up the Taku River.
He is survived by one sister, Edna Ringenberg; stepchildren, Harold, Sherry and Jim Pence; step-grandchildren, Walter Pence, Tim Pence and wife, Cassandra, Patrick Pence, and Jackie (Pence) Thurman; and nieces and nephews in Illinois.
Per his request, he will be cremated and his ashes will be spread on Yehring Creek, Taku River. He asked there be no memorial services, but an application will be submitted to have his name added to the Fishermen's Memorial next spring.
Family can be contacted at P.O. Box 240644, Douglas, AK 99824. Memorials may be made to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau or charity of your choice in his name.
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