Durango resident Wilbur Knight Brown died of pneumonia Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango. He was 81.
Mr. Brown was born to Herbert and Donna Brown on July 6, 1932, in Oakland, Calif. He grew up in Piedmont, Calif., and graduated from Piedmont High School.
Known to family and friends as “Bill,” he attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a doctorate in nuclear engineering.
While at Berkeley, Mr. Brown was involved in the Naval ROTC program and subsequently served in the Navy during the Korean War. He was discharged with the rank of lieutenant.
In 1954, he married Kathryn “Kitty” Lind.
The young couple moved to Denmark, where Mr. Brown worked for the Danish Atomic Energy Commission. They returned to the U.S. in the early 1960s, and Mr. Brown worked in research for many years at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He also taught nuclear engineering at the University of Wyoming.
Upon his retirement from Los Alamos in 1987, Mr. and Mrs. Brown moved to Lake Almanor, Calif., where Mr. Brown taught physics and calculus at Lassen Community College in nearby Susanville.
Mr. Brown moved to Sunshine Gardens West in Durango in 2009 to be close to his son Walt Brown.
Throughout his life and career, his interests included music, astronomy, hiking and skiing. He studied and developed theories about the formation of the solar system and sequential fragmentation as well as authoring numerous papers.
While at Berkeley, Mr. Brown was a member of the UC Men’s Glee Club. During his life, he lent his tenor voice to several other musical groups, quartets and choirs. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Durango, where he also sang in the choir.
Mr. Brown is survived by his wife, Kitty Brown; sons Walt Brown and Craig Brown; and two grandsons.
No formal service is planned at this time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Music Department, First United Methodist Church of Durango, 2917 Aspen Drive, Durango, CO, 81301.