Long-serving CIRI Director and CIRI Elders’ Settlement Trust trustee Gerald “Jerry” Grant Brown passed away July 30 at home in Everett, Wash., surrounded by his family. He was 82.
Brown was born in Anchorage in 1934. Growing up, he lived in Anchorage, Homer and eventually Everett, Wash., settling there permanently when he was in the ninth grade. Brown’s grandmother was of Athabascan descent from the Talkeetna area.
In the early 1950s, Brown began an apprenticeship in the glass business. He also developed a love of scuba diving and underwater photography, travelling the world to the best diving locations, amassing more than 4,000 photos and spending time aboard a Jacques Cousteau research vessel in pursuit of the giant Pacific Northwest octopus.
Over the course of his career, Brown owned and managed two successful businesses, Everett Skin Divers and Jerry’s Auto Glass. He also held a private pilot’s license.
Brown was elected to the CIRI Board of Directors in 1974 and continuously served until 1999 when he chose to retire. He served as chair of the Land Negotiation committee 1974-1977, during which time CIRI underwent rounds of negotiations with the state and federal governments leading to the 1976 Cook Inlet Land Exchange. In addition to being a CIRI shareholder, Brown was a member of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe.
Brown is survived by his wife Martha Birk Brown; children Chris (Rene) Brown of Everett, Wash., Alisa (Martin) Garrigues of Anchorage, Alaska, John (Kelly) Brown of Fairbanks, Alaska, Keith (Paige) Brown of Camano Island, Wash., and Keri Bartlett of Marysville, Wash.; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
At Brown’s request, no memorial service will be held. There will be a celebration of his life at a later date. If desired, memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the Northwest Straits Foundation, which works to protect and restore the health of marine resources, at 1155 North State Street, Suite 402, Bellingham, Wash., 98225.