Friday, April 25, 2014

Chester (Chet) Brown, BHS 1933?

Chester (Chet) Brown, BHS 1933? Chester (Chet) Brown passed away March, 29th 2014 at the age of 98. He was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on Aug. 31st, 1915 to Earl and Blanche Brown. The family made their way to Burbank, California in 1923, where he and his only sibling June Francis graduated from Burbank High School. He had an auto mechanics garage in Burbank in 1940 called Chet's Automotive and built his 1st home of 2 that he would build nearby. He leased out his business to go into the Navy and served from 1942 to 1945 as a Motor Machinist Mate 1st Class where he did overhaul and maintenance on the ship's engines. He married Billie Mae Archer when he got out of the Navy and had 4 children, Michael, Kelly, Stacey and Perry. He had a love of fishing and boats and bought his first boat the "Dead Battery" in his mid-twenties. It was 22 ft. long. The next boat he bought was the "Pronto", a 30 ft. Chris Craft that could reach a speed of 40 knots an hour. He started a charter business giving high speed boat rides in Long Beach. In 1952 he launched a lifelong boat building career with the "Bimiche". It was 35' long, built of steel, and used to start his first commercial sport fishing business. He built the boat with longitudinal framing and unique design features not seen at that time. It had a wide beam and a live bait well both being unusual for that time. He hauled passengers out of Long Beach and Wilmington. In 1954 he built the 40ft. "Reville" also using a new method of construction. He designed the hull and it was one of the first boats to be built that size out of laminated plywood with longitudinal framing and fiberglass. Also a commercial sport fishing boat the laminated plywood technique was stronger, lighter, faster and innovative for the time. He began a trend that other boat builders would soon follow. He moved his family to San Pedro to be closer to his sport fishing business and built his 2nd home there for his family. By 1956 he had tired of hauling passengers and sold his boat. He also sold his house in San Pedro and moved his family into an apartment so he could rent space to start building a 40 ft. sailboat the "Destiny". Again he used a new method in wood construction called the strip planked method. During this time he worked as a marine mechanic for Marine Engine Service. Chet and Billie had a dream of moving to Hawaii and 3 years after starting the "Destiny" he took Billie, Michael, Kelly, a navigator and crew man and sailed to the Hawaiian Islands. Upon reaching Hawaii he sent for his 2 youngest daughters, Stacey and Perry to join them. Chet and his family lived on their boat in the Alawai Yacht Harbor in Honolulu before moving to a house in Kaneohe. While in Hawaii he worked for the Hawaiian Extruders, a plastic products manufacturer. He sold the "Destiny" in 1960 and relocated his family to Santa Barbara. He soon had a job working for Lindwall Boat Works and bought a new 2 bdrm home in Goleta and immediately converted the 2 car garage into 2 extra bedrooms with an added garage. He then built another boat named the "Euekai". It was 25 ft. long and built with recreation in mind. It was built with the same laminated plywood technique as the "Reville". He soon sold that boat and in 1962 started work on a 52 ft steel commercial fishing boat named the "Dawn Star". It was reportedly the largest steel boat built in Santa Barbara up to that time. He worked for Santa Barbara Yachts as a marine mechanic during this time. It launched in 1964 and he and his family became some of the first live-aboard in the Santa Barbara Harbor. It was also during this time that he started another business named Service Afloat that he operated off of the "Dawn Star" in the Santa Barbara Harbor. He assisted other boat owners with general and mechanical repairs. In 1968 he took the "Dawn Star" along with his son out for her first albacore fishing season. In 1968 the Atomic Energy Commission chartered the "Dawn Star" for research in the Johnston Atoll, 800 miles southwest of Hawaii. He took his wife Billie, son Mike, Stacey, Perry and his sister June and 12 days later delivered the boat to Hawaii where the charter began. The family vacationed in Hawaii until the boat returned from it's charter. In 1969 he took the "Dawn Star" to work in the Gulf of Alaska. The boat was under contract with General Oceanographics and he outfitted the boat to carry their 15 ft. mini submarine named the "Nekton". They were making a subsea survey of the gulf's geologic features for 4 different oil companies. He sold the "Dawn Star" to General Oceanographics by year's end. Chet then started building another boat named the "Archer" in 1970 and launched it in 1973. It was 63 ft. long. It was laminated plywood and built at the bottom of Santa Barbara St. He fished albacore with it until 1975 when he decided to sell it. His son Mike had already begun building his own steel commercial fishing boats when Chet went to work for him. He would help Mike finish his boat the 65 ft. "Wendy". He worked on the interior, engines and generators and helped fit it with drag gear. He fished with Mike and his wife Paulette on their boat until 1978. Chet also helped Michael build his next boat the "Mikette" in Oxnard from 1978 to 1980. It was in1982 that he took a break and bought a Rotor Way Helicopter kit and proceeded to make a helicopter and trailer that he would work on for the next 2 years. He sold it after completion. He also helped Mike build another boat, the 124 ft. "Kami M." in Anacortes, Wa. from 1989-1991. He then helped rebuild and repower another boat (also named the Kami M.) from 1991-1992. He went on to help his son again rebuilding the "Wendy Sea" (a boat Mike bought in Nova Scotia) and by helping him install refrigeration and trolling polls. He spent his later years between Washington State, Ventura and Santa Barbara. Chet pursued his passion throughout his life and will always be remembered for his humor, honesty, integrity, ability to teach and mentor and his ability to start a job and stay with it until completion. He will be greatly missed. Aloha Chet Brown is survived by his sister June Francis, His 4 children, Michael Brown (Paulette), Kelly Rangel, Stacey Brown and Perry Adameck (David). His 6 grandchildren, Tracey Cruz (Alex), Billy Rangel (Brandy Sanchez), Wendy Brown, Kami Jennings, Aprile Hill (Bill), Matthew and Shelby Adameck. His great grandchildren, Jordan Hill, Akeila Garcia-Hill, Bella and Lucas Cruz. He was preceded in death by his wife Billie Brown, Marie Hartman (long term relationship) and Ada Schmidt (long term relationship) and 1 grandchild, Tanner Adameck. Chet's Family would like to thank the caregivers Mary Reese-Upton, Christy Harter, Josie Eulin, Kathy Abramovitz, John Shires, Rafael Lopez and Linda Trujillo for their compassionate care. The family would also like to thank the staff at Samarkand and Mission Villa. Donations can be made to Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice Care of Santa Barbara. A Veteran's Service was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, April 5th, followed by a Celebration of Life at Craig Brooker's home in Santa Barbara.

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