Richard “Dick” Charles Bown, Sr. (age 95) was born on August 12, 1928, in Gettysburg, S.D., to Walter Bown and Annetta Ulmer Bown. He passed peacefully at home on May 12, 2024.

Dick grew up in South Dakota where his love of cars developed at an early age. He would drive a car to grade school and would often joke that his was the only car in the parking lot, because no teachers owned cars. He eventually settled in Portland, Oregon in 1941 where he met the love of his life, Evelyn Ferguson Bown. They had three children, Sheri, Chuck, and Jim.

Dick was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn; daughter Sheri Bown; grandson Chase Bown; sisters, Jane Mathias and Lois Vistica; and brother Robert “Bob” Bown. He is survived by his sons, Chuck Bown (Debbie) and Jim Bown (Courtney), six grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and six great great grandchildren.

He served as a Merchant Marine but was an entrepreneur at heart and at age 17, he opened his first business, a service station. He also owned a billiard supply business and repaired pool tables.

After a little encouragement from a friend, he bought his first race car, a 1937 Ford Coupe for just $5 in 1951. He put about $100 plus lots of heart and labor in the car and ran his first race in Salem, Oregon. After a couple of years, he ran into an issue because he needed to do something with all his and others wrecked cars, so in 1953, he opened a wrecking yard, which became his final business, Rose Auto Wrecking which he ran successfully for over 60 years. He also became President of the Auto Wreckers Association and in the 1960s, he testified before Congress on their behalf.

Dick became a force to reckon with while racing throughout the west coast and developed quite a fan following. Amongst his many racing accomplishments, he became a member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2003. He hung up his driving helmet in the early 1970s and supported his kids as they pursued their own racing careers. Eventually, those pursuits relocated him to Asheboro, NC in the early 1990s. Racing was a family affair, and most weekends were spent at the racetrack and in later years gathered around the TV on Sundays to watch NASCAR.

See full obituary at Pugh Funeral Home.

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