WESTLOCK – The Westlock community was saddened last Tuesday, May 3, to learn of the passing of Dwight Brown.
Dwight passed away peacefully at his home at the age of 65 after losing an all-too-short battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Terry, sons Regan (Carmel) and their son Axl and Matthew and his son Gage, their daughter Brittany (John Ketsa) and their infant son Barrett, as well his parents, siblings, and numerous nieces, relatives and friends.
Dwight was born Sept. 30, 1956, the eldest child of Doug and Vera Brown. He spent his early years learning the value of hard work on his parent’s dairy farm south of Westlock.
While in high school as a 16 year old, he enrolled in a work experience placement with A. Miller Farm Equipment. That led to a summer job in the parts department and after graduation, a full-time job at the Chrysler dealership, which at the time was part of Albert Miller’s equipment dealership. In his first hour as a salesman, he sold a new 1977 Chrysler New Yorker.
He continued to work in sales while earning his parts journeyman status at NAIT in Edmonton.
When Miller wanted to expand his farm division’s space and devote his time to the farm equipment business, the Chrysler franchise became available, and with Chrysler’s approval, Brown became, at age 24, one of the youngest automotive dealers in Canada.
He opened his Brown’s Chrysler on the west side of Westlock in September 1981. In 2006, after the John Deere dealership had moved to a new location, Brown renovated and added new office space, and moved back to the location next to Highway 44 where he began his career. From an original staff of seven, the business now employed 25 persons.
His hard work led to success, and in the fall of 2013, he received the prestigious Alberta Dealer of Excellence Award in the Non-Metro Category from the Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta (MDA). The award, nominated by their peers, is the MDA’s highest honour.
Former Ford dealership owner in Westlock, the late Rex Dawson, an MDA recipient himself attending Dwight’s MDA award ceremonies noted, “Dwight, you’re a credit to your community, a credit to the province, and a credit to yourself and your family. Thanks so much for what you do.”
After a 44-year career with Chrysler, Dwight sold his business to Chris Semple in March,2017, and the business continues today as Brown’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Ltd. He had worked his entire career at the same job in the community where he grew up. Over the years, Brown always felt there should be job opportunities for young people coming out of high school locally and promoted that as much as he could.
He served on many organizations in the community, including the chamber of commerce and the Westlock Community Hall. Brown always put 100 per cent into everything he did. A perfect example of that is his participation in the Westlock Rotary Club. He became a member April 1, 1990 and was a member up to his passing. Until his health began failing just a few months ago, he had maintained a 100 per cent attendance record, spanning well over 31 of his 32 years as a member. He was twice club president, in 1996-1997 and 2019-2020.
Brown was a great encouragement to many, both in Rotary and the community, and a strong leader, and this will be the strong legacy he leaves to this community, his lifelong home.