It didn't seem to matter who you asked amongst the membership in the clubhouse of the Outlook and District Wildlife Federation (OWF) on Thursday evening, September 23 - everybody had a story to tell and a good word to share about the late Art Brown.
An avid hunter and fisherman throughout his life, Brown succumbed to cancer and passed away in December 2020 at the age of 90 years.
Art's family was present in the clubhouse, including his widow Audrey and his daughters Cindy (husband Karl Butler) and Cathy (husband Warren Fraser), as well as his grandson Scott Fraser, who introduced the family to those in the room.
Eugene 'Curly' Hallan, acting as MC, presented the OWF with one of Brown's mounted deer heads, hunted in 1969 and carrying measurements of 178 3/8. The room, filled to the brim with local hunters and those who knew Art well beamed with pride seeing the head go up on the wall, attached with a nameplate underneath reading, 'In Memory of Art Brown, 50 Years of Loyal Service, 1971-2020'.
A resident of Outlook since 1970, Art worked as a soil technician with the PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration) until his retirement, but it was stories of Art's life, hunting and fishing that several stood up to share as Brown's family members laughed and shed tears.
"Art and I spent a lot of years together - good years," said Eugene. "We were into a little bit of everything: farming, cows, fishing, hunting. Art went a little bit farther because he wasn't quite as clumsy as I am, and he excelled in everything. When Art took on a task, it was going to be done right. We had really good times together. There were so many memorable times and experiences with Art."
"I got to know Art in the early 60's as we both worked at the Dam - he and I built that dam!" he joked Oliver Johnson. "I think pretty well every day, I talked to Art. He was a great curler, and I curled many games against him, and I think I won one game. He and I hunted together, and I can recall a couple of hunts near Elbow with some of the guys. He was a good boss; you couldn't have asked for anybody better than Art to work for."
"He was always my go-to guy to say grace at the wildlife suppers," said Hank Halseth. "Art and I also golfed together quite a bit, and we were partners for the Ryder Cup quite often, and as I remember it, we won most of our matches. It was Art's doing that we won!"
"One trip we had with Curly, Art, Gary and I, we went bow hunting one day," shared Grant Pederson. "I made it until noon that day and then I had to lay down. A lot of times that Art and I spent at Tomasiewicz's in the back lot pushing cattle up, as long as I did what Art wanted to do, the cattle moved through. Even Val knew better than to tell Art what to do! The last trip we took, and I think it's the last deer he got, he was so proud. He said it's the first whitetail he got that didn't have brown shrinkage! He was so proud of that!"
"I got to know Art in 1974," added Leo Tomasiewicz. "It was the year that I came home to farm on my own and the year that Art and Curly started feedlots. I got to know them, spent a lot of time with them, and this went on for years and years doing things together. In about 2002 after Art and Curly got rid of the cattle, Art said he wasn't that busy so he'd come and help us farm. He started cultivating, started hauling bales, started combining, and he never left! He stayed and helped us for 10-12 years, and he helped us work cattle a lot. He also loved to go places; we spent a lot of time going to a lot of auction sales hauling a lot of cattle, and Art was there every time. One thing that I remember most about Art was his honesty, he was so honest and wouldn't do anything to break the law. If he owed someone a nickel, he'd go anywhere to find that person and give it back. Just an incredibly honest person."
"We worked together the last time I was in this building," noted Dwayne Preus. "Art and I always ended up cutting meat. We laughed most of the time when we were doing this. One time when we were doing it, they'd put the meat in a pit and cook it. Art said, 'Well, I wonder how it'd work if we just put it in ovens?' So we're there, cutting it up, and the first roast was good, but the second one was black. Art asked, 'What the hell are we going to do with that?' I said that we'd trim it all up and cut the black stuff off, then we'd cut another roast and mix it all in with it. So we did that and it all went!"
The stories could be heard all through the night by those who knew Art Brown, painting a picture of who the man was and of his character as a human being, and ensuring that he will not be forgotten as long as his family and friends hold on to the memories.