Dale Thomas Brown, age 55 of Northfield, died on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at his home with family after courageously battling bladder cancer for 2.5 years.
Dale was born in Northfield, Minnesota to Leo and Irene (Shimota) Brown on March 23, 1965. He grew up on the family farm in Dundas/Bridgewater Township. He was number 7 out of 9 children. As a child he traveled to many states with his parents and siblings in the family RV. When the family set out on vacation, they never quite knew what adventures lay ahead and were open to where the road took them. Dale had many adventures in his life that included education, family, friends, photography, volunteering, outdoorsmanship and fun.
He attended St. Dominic’s Catholic School and graduated from Northfield High School in 1983. Dale received his bachelor’s from St. Cloud State University in Photographic Science and master’s degree from Mankato State University in Environmental Sciences.
After graduating from St. Cloud, Dale accepted a position with Konica Photography in New Jersey. The east coast was not for him and a few years later he returned home. He held various jobs at Sheldahl, Cannon River Watershed Partnership, Crown Cork & Seal-Lakeville, Target, and finished out his career in a position he loved at Normandale Community College. Dale assisted in the Art lab and teaching photography, fused glass, and other arts over the past 18 years. He was passionate about working in the arts, collaborating with wonderful colleagues, and engaging with creative students.
On Sept 24, 1999 Dale married Cindy Keogh at St. Dominic’s Church in Northfield. He met Cindy as a fellow Jaycee from Faribault, MN. They were friends for many years before their life together began. They went for a spring wildflower guided tour at the Riverbend Nature Center as friends and walked out realizing they were holding hands. They never let go for 25 years until Dale’s last breath.
Besides Cindy, his greatest joy was his son Tommy. Together Cindy and Dale traveled to Seoul, South Korea to bring Tommy to his forever home. He and Tommy made many memories together through different Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts activities. Dale loved going on school field trips and most of all to Thorn Crest Farm each October for their annual family picture among the pumpkins.
Community was Dale’s life. He loved volunteering in the Dundas and Northfield areas. He was a past president of the Dundas Jaycees which led him to hold offices at the state level. He received his Statesman and Senatorship which are the top honors of Minnesota and the United States Jaycees. Dale belonged to the Knights of Columbus #1516 at St. Dominic’s Church. He was the past Cub Master for Cub Scouts Troop 300 which he held for many years. Dale, Cindy, and Tommy started volunteering at the Laura Baker Community Thanksgiving Dinner more than five years ago and it became an annual family tradition. For anything that involved family and kids, Dale was always there.
He had a unique and keen eye to capture the beauty of the world around him. He shared his many photographic memories with others to enjoy. He slept many nights under the stars in his car just to capture the perfect night sky. He explored many miles in parks and nature centers witnessing God’s creations. He loved traveling to Duluth, Grand Marais, and Door County Wisconsin to capture his photographic wonders. He was a talented artist who used his creativity and imagination to produce astounding fused glass artwork as well. He was a member of the River Walk Art Fair and the Paradise Center for the Arts for many years.
Dale enjoyed spending time with family each year at the Annual Brown Summer Get Together. You could always find him on a dock or in a kayak with one of the nieces or nephews showing them how to catch that “Big Keeper”.
Anything to do with nature was his gig. He loved to hike, explore, camp, and most of all fish! He found peaceful solitude while ice fishing, casting off some bank of a lake, river, creek, or pond.
Dale came from a large farm family where hard work, honesty, faith, and togetherness were instilled in him. He valued these attributes throughout his life.
Dale will be missed deeply by every family member and by his communities. He will be remembered for his dedication to family and community, his love of nature, his artistic eye, his mischievous pranks, and his infectious laugh.
He is survived by his wife, Cindy; son, Tommy, his foot warmer dog, Ellie; sisters, Jean (Steve) Pietig, Bonnie Brown, Jan (Marv) Brown Helgeson, Amy (Dave Pennock) Brown; brothers Don Brown and Ken (Usha) Brown; brothers-in-law Ed (Jean) Keogh, Dennis (Sandy) Keogh and sisters-in-law JoAnn Kozitza and Betty Vargo; godsons Erik Helgeson and Aidan Mason and many other beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Dennis and Patrick, godson Ryan Brown along with both maternal and paternal grandparents. We are thankful that they will be there to welcome him to heaven.
A private Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of St. Dominic in Northfield. Interment will be held at Calvary Cemetery, Northfield. Dale’s service will be livestreamed through a link found on his obituary page.
Visitation will be held on Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Parker Kohl Funeral Home of Faribault.
In lieu of flowers donations to Dale’s family Go Fund Me page are preferred, gofundme.com/f/dale-brown-medical.
Dale requested casual attire to be worn, jeans, flannels, denim shirts, Mickey Mouse, Life is Good, he was a comfy down to earth beloved TreeHugger.
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