Family and friends will celebrate the life of Barrie Brown on Thursday.
The well-known Campbell River businessman died Friday following a short battle with cancer. He was 68.
“I worked with him for 15 years. He was a wonderful man and he touched so many lives,” said family friend Lynn Owens.
Born July 22, 1945, in Prince George, at age six Brown and his family moved to Vancouver where he was raised. Even as a youngster, the entrepreneurial spirit was already thriving in Brown.
“From a very young age, he set out to do as much as he could and he certainly did,” said Owens.
After high school Brown went to university for a while, but the allure of business proved too great. He started in logging, then into commercial fishing on his own boat, then into the “wild blue yonder” as a pilot, and that eventually led to Campbell River.
In 1975, Brown bought Mason Car Centre in North Campbell River and changed the name to Targa Motors. In 1986, Brown partnered with Marc Hylands at the downtown car dealership located at Dogwood Street and 13th Avenue.
Around the same time, Brown also bought the nine-hole Glen Alder Golf Course on Petersen Road. Nine more holes were added and the name was changed to Sequoia Springs Golf Course, also known as “The Garden Course.”
In 1990, Brown sold his part of the car dealership to Hylands and then opened Barrie Brown Pontiac Buick GMC at the site where he first started selling cars.
The dealership closed in the late 2000s, but Brown wasn’t done as he opened Barrie Brown Nissan. In 2012, Brown sold the business to the Tom Harris Group and continued to manage his real estate holdings.
With the sale of the dealership, Brown was able to devote more time to fishing, motorcycling trips and family.
He married Linda on June 1, 1968, and they had two boys, Craig and BJ. The sons are now grown, married, and have added three more children to the family.
Brown was a supporter of local sports and sponsored minor rep hockey teams for several years. He was a member of the chamber of commerce and a supporter of the food bank and the hospital foundation.
“Barrie was also a founding member of the Campbell River chapter of Ducks Unlimited and he was very proud of that,” said Owens.
In 1998, Brown built a swanky new clubhouse at Sequoia Springs. It has proved to be a favourite location for weddings and other big events, and the spacious second storey became home.
A memorable event occurred there on Feb. 2, 2010. The Browns were at home when they heard a loud crash around 6 p.m.
When Brown went downstairs to investigate, he immediately saw there had been a break-in. Several hundred dollars had been stolen along with clothing from the pro shop.
As Linda called police, Brown and one of his sons jumped in a truck and went looking for the suspect.
Just down the road, at Windsor Plywood, they caught up with the 24-year-old thief who was found with Linda’s sunglasses, a new Dunlop golf glove on his left hand and a golf shirt which just so happened to sport the the Sequoia Springs logo.
Father and son held the suspect until Mounties arrived.
A celebration of Barrie Brown’s life takes place Thursday, 2 p.m., at Sequoia Springs Golf Course.