Jimmy H. Brown
September 3, 1935 - January 17, 2023
Jimmy Harold Brown was born on September 3, 1935 in Coldwell Parish, Columbia, Louisiana. He was the fifth of seven children born to Virgil Terry Brown and Helen Marie (Chilton) Brown. He passed away on January 17, 2023 with his daughter Helen and granddaughter Laura by his side.
Jimmy was born at home on a rural cotton farm, and weighing only 3.0 pounds at birth, spent the first several weeks of his life in a box on the wood-fired oven door. He spent his early years working the farm and learned to tend crops, take care of livestock and fell and cut cypress trees for firewood (using a crosscut saw). His most memorial times were spent trapping, hunting and fishing the bayou to help feed his large family. His mother was a wonderful cook and Jimmy learned from her and became a wonderful cook as well. He often said that if he didn’t kill something for the pot with every shot fired, he was in big trouble when he got home.
Jimmy attended school in Columbia before traveling to Monroe, Louisiana to work on the new hospital. At the age of 18 he made the trip to Humboldt County, following in the footsteps of two uncles also from Coldwell Parish, Jack and Ramage Brown. Jack settled in Fort Bragg and Ramage in Rio Dell. Shortly after arriving in Rio Dell in 1957, Jimmy found employment at the Pacific Lumber Company in Scotia. He started in production, but was soon moved into maintenance as a millwright because of his natural talent for being able to fix things. He stayed with the company 43 years until his retirement in 2000.
Soon after moving to Rio Dell he met the love of his life, Billie Marie Griffith, whose family had been in Humboldt County for five generations. They were married on June 28, 1957 and shared 63 wonderful years together. They were blessed with three children; Marilyn Joyce (Brown) Summerfield, Helen Marie (Brown) Dinsmore and Jimmy Harold Brown Jr. (passed at birth).
Whenever possible, weekends and holidays were spent hunting, fishing and camping. Some part of Billie’s large family of fourteen brothers and sisters and their families were always included in these outdoor adventures, as were their best friends Ronnie and Pricilla Johnsgard. Fort Bragg for abalone, Shelter Cove for saltwater fishing, and crabbing in the bay and mouth of the river were always favorite get-a-ways. When the steelhead were in the river you could expect to see Jimmy and various family members drifting from High Rock to Scotia or Rio Dell, usually ending the day with a boatload of fish to smoke. Usually a couple bottles of brandy were kept onboard to combat the chill during those cold January and February mornings. Ruth Lake usually took a beating whenever Jimmy decided he needed a “mess” of crappie, brim, or bass to cook up for the crew on Saturday night. Although these were all highly anticipated outings, buck season was the time of year he most looked forward to. Scouting for bucks during grouse season and hunting for a wall hanger every weekend of the season while camping on Eight Mile or at the Race Track on South Fork. In later years he hunted from Uncle Dave’s lease lot above Ruth Lake. During the late season nothing beat Jimmy Brown’s squirrel and quail feeds. It was always funny to see how many members of other hunting camps would show up at dinner time.
Jimmy lost his son Jimmy Jr. at birth and his wife Billie to Alzheimer’s in 2021. He is survived by his daughter Marilyn (husband Richard Summerfield) and their children Chris (wife Amanda, daughter Ginger and stepson Gabe), Glen Summerfield and Richard J. Summerfield (daughter Jesyka and granddaughter Juno). He is also survived by his daughter Helen (husband Doug Dinsmore) and their children Laura Dinsmore (partner Carlos Comacho and son River Noah), and Robert Dinsmore (wife Kendra and their daughter Kara and son James). Jimmy is also survived by his sister Maudine (Brown) Douglas. He was preceded in death by his parents Virgil Terry Brown and Helen Marie (Chilton) Brown and two brothers, Virgil and John Brown and three sisters, Betty Jean James, Helen M. Oliveau, and Mary F. Melfatti.
Furthermore, Jimmy is survived by his brother in laws David Griffith and Tom Griffith (wife Barbara) and sister in law Vicky Aust (husband Alan).
A special thank you to Jimmy’s granddaughter Laura and partner Carlos for spending eight months living with and caring for “Poppa” during a most difficult time in his life.
There will be a celebration of life held at the Rio Dell Fire Hall on February 25 between 2 and 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please send monetary donations to Hospice of Humboldt, 3327 Timber Fall Court, Eureka, CA 95503.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Jimmy Brown’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.