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Bruce Alan "Al" Brown 11/13/46-8/17/22
Al was born in Holdrege, NE to Bruce and Frances (Ledford) Brown. He grew up in Greeley, CO alongside two younger sisters: Susan (Dan Jordan) and Betty (Steve Truitt). In school he was an athlete, playing football and participating in track and field as a sprinter and pole vaulter. From a young age, his parents, particularly his father, instilled in him a great love for the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, and hiking were regular past times and established an early connection to the natural world that would define his entire life. In college he was a member of the ROTC program on a path to become a pilot in the US Airforce, until an untimely skiing accident left him ineligible to fly and he received an Honorable Discharge. One door closing and a new door opening would become a common theme throughout his life, and Al seized every opportunity presented. He had become an avid rock climber and was very active in the outdoor adventure community. In 1971, he went as a chaperone on an Outward Bound course on the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument. This trip launched him into the river community and a 25 year career as the Utah Program Director for Colorado Outward Bound School. He established training protocols and course itineraries that are still used in the river industry today. During his early years in the Uintah Basin he befriended many local cowboys, unknowingly writing the preamble to the defining chapter in his life. He purchased land in Jensen, UT and went about building a working horse ranch. He learned to train horses and rope cattle and eventually translated his Outward Bound work into what was known as "All 'Round Ranch". Offering week-long range riding and cowboy adventures to participants from around the world, he continued his legacy of teaching and outdoor adventure. Of all the hats Al wore, the cowboy hat endured and this is how he will forever be known.
In the winter, the farm ponds in the valley became a haven for ice skating and some version of ice hockey. Al discovered that he had the ability to flood his riding arena, and eventually the cattle pasture, to build a legitimate hockey rink in Jensen. Ice hockey became a passion and yet another chapter in his life. In 1992 he started a hockey program in Vernal with twelve kids, a program that has grown to hundreds of youth players, an indoor ice facility, and a junior hockey team. He left the Uintah Basin to Coach at the college level. He coached the University of Northern Colorado, his Alma Mater, to two undefeated seasons; being declared ACHA Coach of the Year for the 2006-2007 season. He also coached the CSU Women's team and helped build Women's hockey opportunities in Colorado. He retired from hockey coaching after the 2013-2014 season. He spent his last few years dedicated to building an ice rink in Chaffee County Colorado.
After leaving the Uintah Basin a Harley Davidson became his substitute for a horse. He rode for tens of thousands of miles enjoying National Parks and natural landscapes across the western US. The Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park was a favorite place and he had a great passion for the Lewis and Clark expedition. He eventually settled down in the Arkansas River valley where his life came full circle. He drove a bus for Noah's Ark river company in the summer and skied at Monarch ski area in the winter. His life stories were always a hit with the young river guides and he imparted a breadth of knowledge onto a new generation.
His grandchildren were the light of his life and he spent as much time as possible teaching them the joys of the natural world. He was a brother, a father, a grandfather, a teacher, a mentor, an adventurer, a pilot, a story teller, a cowboy, an entertainer, a dancer and a "pardner". The lives he touched are innumerable and his loss will be felt greatly by people from all corners of the world. His outdoor legacy and adventurous spirit will live on in his children; Lodore, Teal, Ashley and Tappan; his grandchildren TaLynn, Isabella, Colter and Bridger; and two generations of nieces and nephews. Private services will take place. On line condolences may be sent to the family at lewisandglenn.com. Arrangements are with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home.