James Brownson ’64

12 December 2016

Class: 1964

Major: Mathematics, Economics

Residence: Cottage Grove, OR

Deceased: November 18, 2016

Alumni survivors: Mr. Walter Alvarez ’62 (Cousin)

May 8, 1942 – November 18, 2016Bop, as his four grandsons affectionately called him, was the eldest of four siblings. His parents were Dr. Bradley Brownson and Bernice Alvarez Brownson of Hillsborough, California. In 1964, he graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and continued his education at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.A man of many opportunities: In high school he was an active crew of the Sierra Club High trips. A summer during college he worked for the US Weather Bureau in Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island, Canada. Between undergraduate and graduate school, he joined Carleton classman, Jim Ulland traveling through Central America; his return trip to Miami was in a cargo plane carrying butchered beef. In 1966, he married a Mara Robezgrantnieks-Niels and divorced in 1969.He and his father began home winemaking in 1969 which he continued until 2013. The final wine processed was accomplished with his son and four grandsons. He loved to work on his 1947 Mercury Woody and his 1941 Ford Truck. In 1971 he left HP to crew on the Argentine sailboat Gaucho for two years down the coast of California thru the Panama Canal to Florida.Jim began his career with Hewlett Packard in Palo Alto, California in 1966; retiring in 2000. In 1973 after his sailing adventure, he returned to HP in Santa Rosa, California where he met and married his wife Carol and her two children Kristin and John. In 1979, he moved his family to Harvard, Massachusetts continuing his HP career; after a few years returned to Palo Alto, California.After retirement he and his family moved to Aptos, California. He became a docent with the Santa Cruz State Parks; teaching children the wonders of the forest. He was on the board of directors for the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks as well as a member of the HP Retirees board of directors. In 2008, Jim spearheaded the effort to purchase the local water company in Aptos which became Trout Gulch Mutual Water Company, a nonprofit customer owned corporation of 184 members. In 2010 he and his wife moved north to Cottage Grove, Oregon to be close to their four grandsons. During his six years in Cottage Grove, he became an active volunteer at Harrison Elementary School, teaching computer skills and caring for the garden. He was also a member of the Urban Tree Committee. He loved exploring Oregon and building trails for the grand-boys in the forest behind his home. One of his favorite quotes is reflected on his memorial bench in a local park, “We should all plant a tree we will never sit under.”One life that touched so many. He possessed an incredible curiosity and thirst for knowledge on numerous subjects ~ he enjoyed a lifetime of learning and sharing his knowledge. He was a most caring, thoughtful and compassionate individual. As he bluntly stated to his Oncologist a few days before his passing, “I’ve lived my life, balls to the wall!” Yes, Jim. you certainly have accomplished a life well lived.He was a big Bob Dylan fan: “When the rain is blowing in your face. And the whole world is on your case, I could offer you a warm embrace to make you feel my love.”Yes, he undoubtedly did for our forty—three years together.