Ray Gordon Brown

August 17, 1936 ~ July 13, 2020 (age 83)


Our world forever changed at 3:13 AM on July 13, 2020, when Ray Gordon Brown passed away at Sanford Broadway Medical Center, Fargo ND, with his loving wife of 43 years by his side.  His struggles with ataxia are now over.

Ray was born August 17, 1936, in Fargo, ND, the son of Alma (Retzlaff) and Gordon Brown.  He was raised in Enderlin, where he attended school and graduated in 1954.  Ray then attended the University of North Dakota for three years before transferring to North Dakota State University, where he pursued a degree in architecture.  Following graduation, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy, serving at Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, for two years.  After his honorable discharge, he worked for an architectural firm for a time before returning to join the family telephone business. He continued to live in Enderlin but also worked in the offices in Cooperstown, ND, and assisted with equipment installation and cable plowing in Faulkton, SD as well.  He remained active in the business until his passing.

On February 27, 1977, Ray married Joyce Solberg at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND.  They made their home in Enderlin where they raised their four children.  Ray was an active community member, serving on the Enderlin Airport Authority Board.  He was currently a member of Atonement Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND.

To Ray, work was more than a job; it was his hobby.  However, he could always be found with a pencil and paper, drawing his thoughts and ideas.  He was always planning a new building project or thinking of a remodel that could be done.  He was well known for his forty-five-degree angles!  He enjoyed yard work, flowers, and found great pleasure in collecting crystal and china. 

Ray loved to travel and found wonderful traveling companions to visit Hawaii, San Francisco, and Europe.  Cabo San Lucas and Club Cascadas de Baja became a favorite destination. He was loved by so many. He earned the nickname “Papa Coconut” at the resort after having a coconut drop from a palm tree onto his head during a visit.   

Ray is survived by his wife, Joyce, and four children:  Deidre (Tyler) Kilde of Fargo, Nicole Brown, Minot, Dion (Danielle) Brown, Cooperstown, and Karalyn (Jason) Burnside, Cooperstown.  He is also survived by 13 grandchildren:  Kiana, Dexter, and Dawson Leer, Ashton and Trinity Kilde, Fischer and Leighton Johnson, Kelsey, Joel, and Clara Brown, and Isabelle, Hayley, and Abigail Burnside.  Other survivors include his sister-in-law, Louise Brown, Faulkton, SD, brother-in-law, Keith Solberg, Mitchell, SD, and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Alma and Gordon Brown, brother, Harold Brown, mother and father-in-law, Ruth and Joel Solberg, and sister-in-law, Rebecca Solberg.

Ray, I will always love you and cherish your memory.  Living my life with you was the greatest blessing I could have ever had.  Your love, patience, and generosity with your family cannot be measured.  I will miss you every day, but your chains are gone, you have been set free, and can walk, talk, and dance again.

The private family memorial service will be held at Atonement Lutheran Church, Fargo, on Friday, July 24, 2020.  It will be live streamed at Atonement.Live on Friday, July 24, at 10:30 AM.  It can also be viewed at AtonementFargo on YouTube.  There will be a walk through visitation at Armstrong Funeral Home, Enderlin, on Thursday, July 23, 2020 from 5-7 PM.


In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to Sanford Hospice or the Enderlin Fire and EMS Services. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ray Gordon Brown, please visit our floral store.

Funeral Service


July 23, 2020

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Armstrong Funeral Home - Enderlin
138 Dewey St.
Enderlin, ND 58027

July 24, 2020

10:30 AM
Atonement Lutheran Church
4601 South University Drive
Fargo, ND 58104

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