Bernie was born on May 3, 1931, in Yates Center, Kansas, to Clifford and Josephine Brown. He had an older brother, Clifford Brown, Jr. As a child of the Great Depression, Bernie began working at an early age. He worked in the bakery, operated the movie theater projector, laid bricks, bucked hay and was the "house stick" at the local pool hall. Bernie also excelled at sports. He lettered in football, basketball and track in all four years of high school. After graduating from Yates Center High, Bernie attended Texas Christian University on a football scholarship.
With the outbreak of the Korean War, Bernie joined the United States Marine Corps. He served in the Korean War with the 1st Marine Division ("The Old Breed"). Although he didn't talk much about the war, he enjoyed telling the story of the time he and a buddy "requisitioned" an Army supply truck filled with Army beer to share with his Marine buddies.
After honorable discharge from the Marines, Bernie attended Montana State College on a football scholarship and the GI Bill. While at Montana State, Bernie met and married Norma Jean Doley. He graduated from Montana State with a Bachelor of Science and Master's Degree from the College of Agriculture. He then took a job on the staff at Montana State. Bernie and Jean started their family in Bozeman, Montana, with the birth of their daughter, Terry.
After a couple years, Bernie decided to leave his job with the college and pursue a career in corporate agribusiness. He accepted a position with the J.R. Simplot Company and moved his family to Pocatello, Idaho, where their sons Jay and Cliff were born. Always seeking a challenge, Bernie accepted other corporate positions that took him and his family to New Jersey, Virginia and Nebraska before finally settling down in Mountain Home, Idaho in 1970 to begin farming. Bernie purchased a farm southwest of town and he and Jean raised their family in Mountain Home. With a strong will, Bernie worked the farm through good times and bad. Jay joined his dad on the farm and provided invaluable and spirited camaraderie.
During the late 1990s, Jean battled Alzheimer's disease. Throughout this time, Bernie provided Jean with loving care and support. His love and devotion was obvious during her final stages of this ravaging disease. Beneath the strong will and tough exterior that many people saw in Bernie, there was a gentle man and that gentle soul was most evident in our Mom's last days with Dad.
After losing Jean, Bernie was blessed to become reacquainted with Doris Wilson, a former classmate, at his high school reunion. Bernie and Doris shared their later life together while traveling and making a snowbird home in Mesa, Arizona. Few people are blessed to have two great loves in their life, but Bernie was lucky; his last years with Doris were very special.
Bernie leaves behind his daughter, Terry Anderson (Robert); son, Jay (Christine); son, Cliff (Carla); grandchildren, Sara, Nick, AJ and Jack; and his loving companion, Doris. Bernie was preceded in death by his wife Jean, his parents Clifford and Josephine and his brother Clifford Jr.