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Everett William Browning

January 11, 1925 ~ January 20, 2023 (age 98) 98 Years Old


Everett William Browning, loving husband, father, grandfather, and

professor, newspaper journalist, sailor, blacksmith, beekeeper, agricultural

extension editor, Model T mechanic, musician, dulcimer luthier, tractor collector,

fisherman, boat maker, kite-builder, Boy Scout leader, black powder

muzzle-loader aficionado, house remodeler, fry cook and bread maker, and

Padre Island snowbird, passed away at home on January 20, 2023.

Three events had profound influences on Everett’s life: long-time family

friends taking him in after Everett’s mother, Edna, died when he was four years

old, his enlistment in the Navy at age 17, and, in 1955, his marriage to Laurel

Campbell, who became his lifelong companion.

Everett was born at home on January 11, 1925, near Thedford, Nebraska.

Soon after, his family gave up trying to make a living on 640 acres of sandhill

land on the Middle Loup River and moved in 1926 to Broken Bow where his

father, George, was employed as an automobile mechanic. The Pierce family

and Browning family with adjoining homesteads in the 1890s had formed bonds

that frontier living made necessary for survival. Lincoln (Linc) and Ethel Pierce,

who had moved to a farm south of North Platte owned by Everett’s uncle Joe

Browning, asked Everett’s father to let them take Everett for the summer of

1929. He continued to live with the Pierces through high school and off and on

after, until he had established his own family.

In 1942, expecting to be drafted soon, Everett enlisted in the Navy. He

was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station for boot camp, then

sent to Navy Diesel School at the University of Illinois. He served during World

War II on the LST 74, sailing in a huge convoy for the Mediterranean theater in

March of 1944. They saw their first action inside the Straits of Gibraltar on April

1, 1944, when the convoy was attacked by submarines, torpedo planes, and

bombers. Everett, usually assigned to maintain the ship’s engines, was

stationed at a 20 mm deck gun. Everett’s ship’s key role in the Mediterranean

campaign was to transport troops to shore in Italy and Southern France; the

shore leaves during this time brought him many rich experiences which became

favorite stories. He was honorably discharged in 1946, with a rank of Motor

Machinist (Petty Officer) Second Class.

After his service, he attended Kansas State University, earning bachelors

and masters degrees in agricultural journalism. He met Laurel Campbell while

they were in college, but they did not start dating until they were both employed

at newspapers in Omaha, Nebraska. They were married in 1955, and remained

so until Everett’s death.

In his journalism career, Everett worked for the Kansas City Star, Topeka

Journal, North Platte Telegraph, and communications jobs took him to Ft.

Collins, Colorado, and Las Cruces, New Mexico, where his work included

information services at White Sands Missile Range. In 1969 he was hired to

teach journalism at Peru State College, in Nebraska, and he continued there

until retirement in 1986.

He is survived by his wife, Laurel, son Gene and Gene’s wife Shiang

Shiang Chen, and grandchildren Amelia, Lillian, Sam, Madeline, Warren, and

Pajia, and his foster nieces and nephews: Jeanne Salerno, Charles (Chic)

Garner, Stephen Pierce, Anne McCollister, and Martha Pierce.

He was preceded in death by his eldest son, Brian, and Brian’s wife, Mary

Kay Reser, Everett’s brothers Ernest and Ellsworth, and foster sister Alice

Garner and foster brother Arthur (Art) Pierce.


Military funeral honors will be at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX, on Friday, Feb. 24, 1:30-2 p.m. A memorial gathering will be at the Ashford-Wellington apartments’ social hall, 600 Leah Avenue, San Marcos, TX, as well as by video conference, on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2-4 p.m. Family and friends wishing to attend by video conference can make contact to Laurel, Gene, or Everett’s phone, text, or email for the access link.

Memorial donations can made to the Peru State College Foundation by check payable to the Peru State College Foundation and noting “Everett Browning Memorial” in the memo line, or online at (the link is case sensitive), or to the Prairie Blacksmiths Association scholarship fund, attention Bruce Fells, Treasurer, 525 J Rd, Palmyra NE 68418.

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