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Gary Vaughn Brown Nov. 12, 2017

November 19, 2017
Estherville News

Gary Vaughn Brown, 81, of Shakopee, MN, passed away quietly on Nov. 12, 2017 at Minnesota Veterans Home in LuVerne, MN.

Gary was born Feb. 4, 1936 to Wendell and LaVonne "Bonnie" Brown in Peterson, IA. Gary was active in sports and played football at Peterson High School. Gary enlisted in the Army in 1954. Following his honorable discharge, he attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, IA and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Science. He did post graduate work at the University of North Dakota.

Gary married Donna Aileen Pelley of Linn Grove, IA on July 17, 1954 and they had 3 sons, Bruce, Daniel, and Terry. The family moved to Estherville, IA, in 1960 where Gary taught chemistry for 18 years. Gary pioneered a module based approach, so that students could progress at their own pace. He also developed organic chemistry modules for advanced students. He moved to Shakopee, MN, in 1978 and taught in the New Prague school system.

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He was active in the community with Kiwanis and volunteer work. As his sons grew older, he became active in Boy Scouts, serving as assistant scout leader. He formed an Explorer Post and developed life long friendships with many young men in the community. This group backpacked and canoed throughout WY, MT, MN, NM, CO, and Canada.

Gary married Valerie Oldewurtel in 1988. His family grew by 4 step-children, 9 step-grandchildren, and 3 step great-grandchildren. Gary and Val loved to travel and camp and spent winters in Mexico as well as camping western U.S. and Canada. After they retired, they traveled to New Zealand, Thailand, Italy, and Costa Rica. Gary and Val volunteered at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and his Celebration of Life will be held there on May 18, 2018 at 1:30 PM at 3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska, MN. Everyone is invited to share stories and their thoughts at the celebration.

Gary was proceeded in death by his parents, and older brother Vaughn. He is survived by his sister Sandra Tracy, his sons Bruce, Daniel (Joanne Verri), Terry (Julie), and granddaughter Rachel. He is survived by his wife Valerie, 4-step children Kelly (Bob) Will, Lee Oldewurtel, Pam Duffy, and Teresa Crespo, 9 step-grandchildren Travis, Alex and Kristine Tillotson, Josh Mather, Isabella and Anna Crespo, Erik (Brittany) Duffy, Ethan Duffy, Mitchel Duffy and 3 step-great-grandchildren, Troy, Kadi, and Emelia Duffy.

In lieu of flowers, Gary loved and volunteered several years at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, if you would like to make a donation towards a memorial bench in his name, donate online at or mail: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Attention Memorials - Gary V. Brown, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN 55318



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