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W. Kay Brown, age 88, died peacefully on November 22, 2023 of causes related to age. The days and weeks prior to his passing were spent in happy connection with each of his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, his brother and some far-flung friends.
Kay was born in Springfield Missouri, on April 5th, 1935, the second child of Marie Nickle and Charles Wallace Brown Jr. His childhood was spent adventuring with his family, working in his father’s various grocery stores and singing around his mother’s piano. Kay and his family, along with his cousins and aunts and uncles, served as the core (almost only) members of the Springfield branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had many happy memories growing up with cousins and being the older, wiser brother to four younger siblings, who were always his dearest friends in life.
He began his education in a one room schoolhouse with students ranging from 1st to 8th grade. He attributed this early exposure to content above his grade level as the reason why it was easy for him to learn. He lived with an unquenchable curiosity about the world and how things worked. He loved history and had a particular interest in Western American history, railroad history, and other engineering accomplishments. He read books voraciously, and the newspaper daily. His favorite book was Men to Match My Mountains, by Irving Stone. He bought a copy of this book every time he saw it at the DI with the intent of passing it on to a friend who had not yet had the pleasure of reading it. He owned an unwieldy book collection and had a head full of broad and random information. He was Google before there was Google. If he didn’t know the answer to a question, he would find it and let you know. He graduated from SW Missouri St with a degree in economics and from the U of U with an MBA.
Kay met his beloved wife, Patt in March of 1956 at a church basketball tournament in Kansas City, Missouri. He noticed her in the stands and made his way over to find out who she was and to ask her out. Their first date was driving out to see a bridge over the Missouri River, an engineering feat he found fascinating and Patt found terrifying. They dated for nearly two years with Kay making the 186-mile trek from Springfield to Independence every weekend to spend time with her. They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on March 7, 1958. They moved to Utah from Missouri a year later for Kay to attend graduate school.
They purchased a home in East Millcreek and quickly became part of a community they loved deeply. Kay and Patt were blessed with 3 children who brought so much love and laughter into their home. They built a life together full of adventure and opportunities to learn. They all loved sharing life’s funny experiences and recalling those moments regularly. Their home was always open to friends and neighbors and magically there was always room at their table for anyone who just happened to stop by. Kay spent 32 summers in Lake Powell, making in total over 80 trips to boat with family, ward members and friends. He kept the family motorhome stocked and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Business trips where he could drive the motorhome and bring his family along were his favorite. He acquired a passion for snowmobiles one winter when a friend took him out to ride. He ended up owning 6 snowmobiles so he could bring a group of friends with him whenever they could get away.
Although he was an exceptional businessman, even working for IBM in their early days, Kay much preferred to spend his time with his family. He was a dedicated husband and would go to great lengths to support Patt in any of the over-the-top projects she took on. Her success brought him a lot of joy.
As grandchildren came, Kay and Patt dedicated themselves to making a special effort in being actively involved in each of their lives. They hosted Sunday dinners, made weekly visits to each of their homes, and continued to travel, often by motorhome and boat, whenever possible. He left a legacy for each of his grandchildren; the absolute knowledge that he loved them deeply.
A lifelong and dedicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kay served in various callings including Bishop, Sunday School President, and High Priest Group Leader. He spent the last 20 years of his life, up until his very last Sunday, in his favorite calling, which was as a Nursery Leader. His pure heart and tender nature were like a magnet to the youngest and most sensitive souls among us. His pockets were always full of jellybeans and toys which he shared liberally.
Kay is preceded in death by his dear wife, Patt, his parents, his sisters, Rose Marie, Jo Nelle, and Toni, and his brother and best friend, Jon.
He is survived by his brother, Reed (Jane), his brothers-in-law Marlow, Ron, and Bob, his Sister-in-law Julie, his children, Chris (Lynette), Heather (Mike), Kerry (Zanna), his grandchildren, Lindsey Hartley (Tyler), Brooklynn Gwinnup (Cason), Lucas, Brighton, Tierney, Tessa, Kai, Henry, and Ellie, and four great grandchildren, Nora, Finn, Evelyn, and Ruby with one more on the way, and many loved nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Rosecrest Second Ward, 3101 South 2300 East. Friends may visit with the family on Tuesday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Holbrook Mortuary, 3251 South 2300 East, and at the church on Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the services. Interment: Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.