Sunday, September 20, 2009


On 9/1/1937 we moved from our home on Dakota street in Chandler to a 40 acre farm 2 miles South and 2 ½ miles West of Chandler, Arizona. On the farm there was a lumber home, and a fenced in run for 30 or so chickens. Behind the chicken run there was a ten acre grass pasture which butted up against a rather large East-West irrigation ditch. We kept a horse and two cows in the pasture. The rest of the 40 acres was in alfalfa which was rented out to our neighbor.

The road in front of our home, which ran East and West, was dirt and dead ended about ¼ of a mile West of the house at a point which later was where Dobson road runs now. West of that it was desert land full of creosote bushes and mesquite trees where I would take my 22 and hunt for jack rabbets. I was only 8 or 9 years old but my Dad had taught me the safety rules of using a gun and I was careful and a pretty good shot.

Later, during World War 2, the Air Force put in a large paved auxiliary air field to the South West of where our home was to be used for emergency situations. Not too long after the war ended I used it on which I practiced touch and go landings.

While we lived on this farm we came into possession of a cute. bright yellow, cuddly duckling. From the first day that we brought it home it bonded with the family. It did not like to be left alone and it followed us around the yard while emitting a low soft quack and when we tried to leave it alone it emitted a loud quack. We loved this little duck. It was our friend. It loved to follow us out to the large irrigation ditch and swim around in the water while it would throw water up over it’s back and then ruffle its feathers. It did not like us to leave it when we walked off down the road to catch the school bus. Mother had to put it in a pen until we were out of sight. And when we came home late in the afternoon it waddled out to meet us while loudly quacking its delight.

Mother Julia Brown wrote this poem about our duck friend circa 1938.

The Duck Who Thought It Was A Watch Dog

Once upon a time
There was a little duck,
The smartest one in town
He belonged to a little boy
Whose name was Ralph Gene Brown

He thought he was a watch dog,
Even tho’ he couldn’t bark,
He could warn the neighborhood
And make intruders hark.

With Ralph Gene and his sisters
He’d run and play and quack,
And when they went to school,
He’d honk till they got back.

That duck was the affection
Of every family member.
He was such a fun bird
To live with and remember.

Merry Xmas- From Dad & Mother

PS, hope you like this little duck tie pin and cuff link box.

The two or three years that we lived on the Chandler farm were carefree and happy ones. On school days we had to walk half of a mile to catch the school bus and then return home by bus early in the afternoon. Shortly after returning home I would walk out to the ten acre pasture to milk the cow and then do our homework until bed time. TV was still a few years away so we were able to get in some quality homework or family entertainment.

The first year that we lived on the farm our family, 7 of us, (Joyce hadn’t been born yet) slept out side during the hot summer months. (Air conditioning was unknown.) In the early morning hours of March 24, 1939 Dad suddenly jumped out of bed and yelled, “The house is on fire!” Aunt Nell was staying with us at the time and she was sleeping inside of the house. Dad was able to wake her up and get her out of the house before being over-come by the heavy smoke that, by now, was billowing up into the night sky.

That was 73 years ago but it is still vividly etched into my mind and heart.

I learned from this experience that we had hosts of wonderful caring friends. The first morning after the fire one of the Chandler merchants invited us into his clothing store and out fitted the family with new clothes. No matter how hard Dad tried to pay him for the clothes he would not accept anything.

The Chandler ward members showed up with overwhelming kindness. The priesthood was organized by Brother Meacham to build a new home. Dad purchased the lumber and the men, all working to- gether, built our new home, ready to move into, in 8 days.

Toward the end of October 1939 Dad traded the farm for about 10 acres of land which fronted the main road thru Gilbert and on which there was a home and a two stall garage and a service station. Dad was planning to start his own dealership in Gilbert. However, not long after moving to Gilbert, the owners of the Brown Chevrolet Co. in Chandler made an offer to sell it to Dad. Dad and a silent partner took them up on the offer and in October of 1940 we moved back to Chandler.

I think that this blog is long enough for now. I hope that the family will print these articles out and save them as drafts which, after I leave to be with Melva Lee, would be included in a book about our life history.

Submitted by Ralph G Brown aka Grandpa Brown

Sunday, June 7, 2009


This morning while I was getting ready for the day I started to think about Falcon Manufacturing Co. (The name, Falcon, hides the real name.) I had no reason to start thinking about it but quite often, during the early morning hours, my mind unexpectedly plays movies of long ago forgotten events.

The event that played out this morning is an important one and the feelings were very strong. I think that this event is one that some of my posterity might find valuable. I know that not every one will find it interesting but some will indeed find it interesting and worthy of adding it to their knowledge base and in the process learn something about Grandpa Ralph G. Brown son of Ralph E Brown and Julia Sevey Brown.

Before I start telling this interesting story let me reveal my feelings about building a business plan for that business that you are planning to start.

First of all I believe that a proforma is a very important part of a business plan. In building a proforma you must be absolutely honest with your self and the loan officer. In order to develop a good proforma a great deal of research time must be invested. Much of the detailed information discovered will end up in a layer of accounting called “cost accounting “. The proforma is a prophesy and should reflect the same information and format that will be used in the accounting system. It is expected to tell the truth and to be a reliable guide.

Some accountants do not like cost accounting or proformas and treat them as unimportant. I like cost accounting and creating pro-formas. It makes the business come alive as it paints a picture, cell by cell. In the end it requires Research, Research, Research.

Before telling about Falcon Manufacturing Co, I want to write about an experience which I had that strengthened my credentials and qualifications to bring to life a brand new hollow metal company.

First what is Hollow Metal? The next time that you are in a hospital or school look at the window frames, the metal doors and door frames. You are looking at hollow metal products. They represent a large part of the total cost of a building. See the picture insert of a hollow metal frame. It occupies one entire wall and has four window openings over four panels and one door frame all in one unit.

During the year of 1969 I was accepted for employment by Stiles, Allen and Rimer which was the hokding company for a sheet metal co., a roofing co. and two hollow metal companies. They were Stiles Sheet Metal Co., Allen Roofing Co., Hol-O-Met in Mesa and Midland Steel in Oklahoma City. They were all headquartered on South Robson St. in Mesa, Arizona. Dee Stiles oversaw the sheet metal and the two hollow metal factories and Granvel Allen oversaw the roofing company. Mr Rimer was the secretary, controller and accountant. He had just passed away and I took his place. I was 41 years and qualified to take over as controller.

I brought the company into the computer age and installed a new way to track work in progress, finished goods and accurately evaluate inventory. Bill Gates the PC and Windows were unknown. We did, however, have available new computer technologies using system programs such as Fortran, IBM DOS, Basic, etc.

I worked for two years under Stiles, Allen and Rimer then assisted Dee and Granvel in selling their business’ to Chesapeake Industries. Ralph Johnson, CEO of Chesapeake Industries and his accountant sat across the table from us as we entered into negotiations to sell the company to Chesapeake Industries. It’s stock was publicly traded over the counter (OTC) and our stock was privately held. We sat across the table from each other and talked things over for two or three days until we struck a deal.

Mr. Johnson was on a roll. He wanted to buy another hollow metal company, Atlas Universal, in San Francisco. I was now working for Chesapeake Industries and sat with Mr. Johnson on his side of the table.
After several hours of negotiations we struck a deal. Mr. Johnson in the meantime had come to rely on my performance and ended up putting me in charge of all three hollow metal factories that were now his. He gave me the title of vice president over Chesapeake Industries hollow metal division. We kept the accountant in San Francisco, and hired an accountant for the Mesa and Oklahoma City factories.

I set up a standard general accounting system and cost accounting system for all three factories and helped the San Francisco and Mesa accountants to set up computer accounting programs. We had engineers in all three factories who took off data from blue prints for selected jobs and calculated bid amounts. All to gether there were about 12 engineers. They represented a fairly big payroll expense. By using commercial computer servers in St Louis and with the expertise of the programmers there we developed a proprietary system that fed “take offs” and computerized bids to all three factories. We were able to reduce the original twelve engineers down to about seven.

Three years later the managers and accountants for two wood door factories and an auto parts factory from back East (all owned by Chesapeake Industries) and I found our selves in down town San Francisco seated around a table at the top of the Fairmont hotel in a very suave restaurant. We had gathered there to go to Chico, California, North of Sacramento, as an auditing team, to take inventory and evaluate a large wood door factory to decide rather or not we wanted Chesapeake Industries to buy it. We decided that it was not a good buy.

I was seated next to Ralph Johnson and he ask me if I would bring my family to live in San Francisco to help move Chesapeake Industries headquarters from Silver Spring, Maryland to San Francisco and take over it’s management. Needless to say his offer was a shock and I felt greatly honored by it.

I was immediately saddened though because I knew that I could not accept his offer. During the seventies the hippie and gay movement were every where in San Francisco and I strongly felt that I could not subject my family to that environment. Mr. Johnson even offered to pay for a three bedroom penthouse that could be seen, from where we were seated, as part of my compensation.

As I told him how much that I appreciated his offer and gave him the reason why I could not accept it I knew that my employment with Chesapeake Industries would be ended. In a few weeks it was so as George Leakie, Ralph’s Son In Law, took my place. I understood that Ralph’s daughter was elated over the move. She had wanted to live in Phoenix for a long time.

What does all of this have to do with the title BUSINESS / PRO FORMAS ?

It gives some insight on where I spent my time, what I did for a living and how I got into starting a new hollow metal business. Granvel Allen gave me a call one afternoon not too long after I was let go from Chesapeake industries. He told me that he had also been terminated from Chesapeake Industries and
wanted to know if I would be interested in working with him to start up a new hollow metal business. He had a good nest egg available from the stock that he held in Chesapeake Industries and was willing to match whatever I could invest. I was able to put in $10,000.00 but $20,000.00 wasn’t anywhere close to what would be needed but was I interested in working with him? I’ll say!

We both belonged to the Rotary Club and had friends that might be interested in getting in on the ground floor of a business venture that had a good chance of succeeding.

Granvel also belonged to the Arizona Club and had a good track record for bringing in business.
I agreed to put to-gether a pro-forma and business plan in exchange for a deferred compensation if the company turned out to be successful.

I had saved volumes of hard data that I could use to build a proforma and business plan. I had most of the information already stored in my mind but hard data is needed in order to win investors. I went to the Dodge Plan Service and the Arizona Contractors Plan Service to determine what we could expect for the demand of our product.

I determined how much capital we would need in order to secure a building, purchase manufacturing equipment, to get started and to finance the expected accounts receivable. I determined who our suppliers would probably be and what we could expect for accounts payable. We already had a commitment for a building in exchange for common stock and also a commitment to furnish and install a heavy duty electrical service likewise in exchange for stock..

All together we ended up with 6 investors and had raised enough capital. The list of investors read like “who’s who” in Mesa. It took close to a year to increase the size of the building and get ready for production. We had hired two engineers and put them under Granvel. They were able to build up a nice backlog of orders so it looked like we were ready to go.

I failed to tell you that before we brought each investor on board I gave each one a copy of the of the pro-forma and business plan. Assuming that there would not be a down turn in the economy it would take two years to break even and another six months to be in a comfortable profit position. Every one was OK with that.


When things begin to go wrong at the board of directors level then all of the good planning in the world will probably not save the company. We operated for a year and the business was on target with the proforma but all at once we started having trouble with the bank which had agreed to give us a continuing accounts receivable operating loan. What was wrong?

As it turned out one of the investor’s had a wife who was on the bank’s board of directors. I believe that he talked to her about events of the day and inadvertently prejudiced her attitude about how our investors were getting along. Actually there were a couple of the investors having problems with issues between them selves and not related to our company but it made her nervous. Banks do not like dissention in the ranks!

Granvel and I tried to find another bank that could help us but it seems that the brotherhood cares for it’s own. Nevertheless we didn’t give up searching. The problem had a domino effect. One of the other investors, a prominent lawyer in Mesa, wanted to close the business so that he could use his share of the loss for a tax advantage. He said that he needed all of the losses that he could find. This caused a couple of the other investors to get cold feet. One thing led to another until we had to close down.

I could have been hurt much worse but I had a back up skill in place and soon I was able to continue bringing in an income.

What are some of the lessons learned from all of the above? It wasn’t because I did not deliver a truthful proforma. It had nothing to do with operations or management. It was because like one or two rotten apples thrown into a bucket of good ones it causes the entire bunch to spoil. The problem is that by the time the defect surfaces it is too late to correct it. This all means to me that there might be times when you have done everything right it may still be damaged or destroyed by others. But don’t waste time fretting about it. There isn’t time for that

By the way, a second skill might come in handy..

Perhaps what I have written here will give future generations of the family an opportunity to learn a little bit of history about one of their progenitors and from a record made by his own hand.

Love, Grandpa Ralph G Brown

Pictures clock wise:

Pequenya now 2 yrs old

Garden & orange tree/ garden is 6 weeks old & orange tree is five months old

Chulie now 4 years old

Hollow metal frame/ see article

Submitted June 6, 2009 by Ralph G Brown

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Mesa, Arizona. To day was absolutely a gorgeous day. It is Sunday March 15, 2009. It is cloudless under a deep blue sky with a soft refreshing breeze gently blowing and the temperature in the middle 70’s. It made me think of so many good things that we had done to-gether as a family when you were growing up.

Beginning with Douglas and Charisse during June and July, 1955 in Alaska, on week ends, we would get in our brand new blue and white Chev and drive to one of the lakes near by. The water was cold and crystal clear. You could see, standing even from the shore, thousands of huge red salmon which had spawned and had come home to die. It looked to me that the fishing would be easy but you could see them swim up to the bait and just look at it. It seemed like the only thing that they wanted to do was wait to die.

Charisse was born in the hospital at Ladd Air Force Base, in Fairbanks on February 7, 1954. It was 60 degrees below zero, the coldest night of the year, when I was given a message that Melva Lee was in labor and that Lynn Holist, our branch president, had taken Melva Lee to the hospital. I was at Eielson AFB, about 24 miles South of Anchorage. I was there because I had drawn a duty assignment that required me to be there that day. I was excused from duty so that I could be with Melva Lee. It was so cold that I had to creep along in the car for a mile or two until the tires could warm up and run smoothly. When I arrived at the hospital Melva Lee had delivered a beautiful baby girl. Her name to be? Charisse.

Picture of us standing on a shore with Douglas, Charisse and the Clarks( Lena and John)
Picture of North Pole sign

In April of 1955 we finished our tour of duty in Alaska. We had sold our trailer home at North Pole (*), and the lot that it was on(**). We had put our new blue and white Chevrolet on a flat car and would not see it again until we arrived in Seattle. We had received our orders to return by train and boat to Seattle, pick up our car there and drive to San Jose, California to receive our discharge. The trip home was exciting. We rode the train from Fairbanks to Anchorage. The railroad ran Southward out of Fairbanks and West of Mount McKinley before arriving in Anchorage. The scenery was breath taking. Even though it was April the landscape was still white with snow. As the train sped along we observed many mountain goats standing on the hill sides with the magnificent Mount Mckinley (***)in the background.

Mount McKinley is a little over 20,000ft high. It is the highest mountain in North America. During the two years that we lived in North Pole , 12 miles South of Fairbanks, several of the many mountain climbers who attempted to reach its top were injured or killed.

From Anchorage we were taken to our ship. I had never been on a big ocean going ship before so it was very interesting to see how big and organized it was. Melva Lee (Nena) had been on two large ships before so she more or less knew what to expect. In 1945, when the war ended, families of the occupation forces were permitted to live in Japan. Melva Lee, with her family, was on the first shipload of dependants to go to Japan. They returned home a couple of years later.

Our room was small but very comfortable. Douglas and Charisse had a fun time looking out the big round window in our room. The top deck had a dance floor and exercise room that was the full width of the deck. Douglas and Charisse had a great time running back and forth on the floor as the boat rolled with the waves.

As we approached Seattle the outside air was about 35 degrees but it seemed wonderful compared to the 10 to 40 degees below zero that we were accustomed to.

Melva Lee had said several times that she was excited to know that the road to San Francisco went through the red wood forest; that she had always wanted to see it. By the time we entered the forest she had gone sound a-sleep. She was pregnant with Shelly and could not wake up.

We were discharged at a base just South of San Francisco and spent the night there. The next day we drove all of the way to my parent’s home in Queen Creek, Arizona. It was so good to see them again!

This is a good place to break so I will write you the next time.

Submitted by Ralph G. Brown


Saturday, March 7, 2009

The airwaves are heavy with reports of war and rumors of war. Much of the news to-day is pessimistic. This might be a good time to let my family know what some of my political views are. Perhaps this may not be interesting to my generation but I hope that, in time, it will be interesting to coming generations

As members of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints (Church) we have so many blessings that we begin to take some of them for granted. When I step into our Ward Chapel I feel that I am standing in a holy place. A place that is secure from the turmoil of the world. I hear the quite words, “Ye shall stand in holy places” and “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear”. I leave Sacrament meetings with a feeling of comfort and thanks giving.

I am grateful for the priesthood through which God passes to us the authority to act in his name. I am amazed that there are so many good people who do not seem to grasp the doctrine that God does not recognize the acts of men unless they have been authorized and executed his way.

The scriptures are clear about these days. In the beginning, before the world was, we approved the plan of happiness or the plan of salvation. We voted to be governed by the law(s) of free agency. Lucifer rebelled against this idea and succeeded in convincing one third of the hosts of heaven to follow him and now he continues to collect followers in this life.

I am grateful for the constitution and for the protection that it provides to the law of free agency.
Political winds tell us that every where there are persons, in and outside of our government and political action committees who are trying hard to kill, little by little, laws that represent free agency. I certainly will not accept such a government and I pray that there are enough of us to defeat such an attempt.

I realize that I have given you only a thumbnail look at the forces that have formed my political philosophy but I hope that it gives you some idea of how I will vote in coming elections.

Submitted By Ralph G Brown

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Introduction To The Ralph Brown Journal

Chulie & Kenya Ralph G Brown

February 1, 2009

The "Ralph Brown Journal" is the second of two blogs that I have. It will be mostly personal and limited to the members of the Ralph G. and Melva Lee (Nena) Brown family and invited friends, whereas the first blog, "Valley Of The Mist" will be open to the world.

We have five children. Two sons and three daughters. Melva Lee Brown (Nena), my wife, passed away about ten years ago and our oldest son, Ralph Douglas Brown, passed away in 2000. He was only 48 years old.

Charisse Brown is our oldest daughter and lives with me in Mesa, Arizona. I have lived in this house for 38 years and Charisse has lived here for about 25 years. She is an RN and a school nurse.

Shelley Brown Riley, our second daughter, and her husband, Tracy Riley, have three children and have lived in Queen Creek for about seven years. They moved here from Portland, Oregon.

Daniel Brown moved from Mesa, AZ to Silver City, New Mexico, in 1989 and then to El Paso about two years later. They have three children, all married and all have had one child each. Daniel married a wonderful girl, Lisa Matta, in 2004. Lisa has one son. It was a second marriage for both of them.

Suzan M Brown Scott married Tom Scott in 1985 and moved to Coolidge, very soon after that. They have two children, A girl, Rachelle, a senior in high school and Thomas a sophomore in college. Neither one of them have married yet. Tom is a business partner with his Father. They own the Case-International equipment Co. in Coolidge and another equipment company in Maricopa, AZ.

Melva Lee and I were married December 27, 1951 in the Arizona Temple. We spent the first half of the fifties at Holoman Air Force Base in Alamorgordo, New Mexico and Eielson Air Force Base, just out of Fairbanks, Alaska. We returned home to Queen Creek in 1955 and soon after that was asked by Apostle Henry D Moyle to take our family to Melbourne, Florida and establish the position of administrative assistant and to take over the office of a 300,000 acre plus cattle ranch for the Church. The fifties were good to us. My first assignment was to fly to Salt Lake City to become aquainted with persons working in the accounting department and to meet the Presiding Bishopric and then to gather up the accounting records and ship them to the Ranch in Florida. This turned ot be a very interesting assignment

We returned home in Mesa about ten months early from the ranch because Dan's doctor told us to get him back into a dry climate before he could heal from an infection that he had in his throat.

The sixties turned out to be loaded with adversity for our family. We moved several times trying to get re-established and In 1969 we decided to return to Mesa. We were beaten and discouraged. However, soon after arriving back in Mesa I received an offer to go to work for Holo-met. It turned out to be a blessing. I was making a good salary again and rapidly rose to be in charge of three hollow metal factories. They were Holo-met in Mesa, Atlas Universal in San Francisco and Midland Steel just out of Oklahoma City.

Soon after being put in charge of the hollow metal factories the CEO of Chesapeake industries, who owned the hollow metal factories asked me to move to San Francisco and help move the home office from Silver Springs, Maryland to San Francisco and take over the office there. It was at a time when the Hippie movement was well established there and I had seen how corrupt they were. It seemed that they were every where. I felt that I could not put my family in that environment so I had no choice but to turn down the offer to move to San Francisco.

This will be post number one. I hope that, as time goes on, I will be able to work in interesting parts of my life history along with glances at my business knowledge, my political views, my religous views and anything that I think would be an interesting and insightful record.

Submitted by Ralph G Brown.