William A. Brown Dies; Lifelong Sitkan Was 59

William ''Billy'' Alfred Brown

Billy Brown left us on July 17, 2023, after a lengthy battle with health issues. He was born in Sitka on August 7, 1963, and left this world peacefully at the age of 59.

William Alfred Brown was half-Tlingit and half-Aleut, a member of the Kiksadi Clan and a lifelong Sitka resident.

He will be remembered for so many fun and funny moments that he either created or was a part of; his persona will be present in the memories of many friends and family for years to come.

Affectionately known as “The Governor,” he was a legendary storyteller and loved his joke-making among his family and friends. It was not unusual for him to have those around him laughing to the point of tears with his jokes and stories.

Billy loved being around the sports world of Sitka and beyond. He actively participated for years in the local basketball and softball world until injuries kept him from playing. He was a prolific third baseman and had the nickname of “Downtown Billy Brown” when it came to the game of basketball with his 3-point shooting prowess. He also enjoyed officiating in the local city league basketball and volleyball leagues.

If there was a sporting event somewhere in Sitka, you would find Billy. And he was a legendary fan, providing his opinions regularly, usually to the enjoyment of those around him listening in.

He loved to travel to watch his Seattle Seahawks and Mariners as well as heading to Las Vegas with friends. More often than not, he would find a way to make every trip memorable to the groups of friends he traveled with by simply being Billy doing the things he did while on the road enjoying his sports and Las Vegas. Some very legendary moments in the memories of his friends happened on those road trips.

Fishing was a passion for Billy. He enjoyed getting out on a boat to catch fish. He was very happy being on the water – it was a good place to be for him. Even if there wasn’t a fish caught in any boating trip, and he would feign grumpiness, he was still happy being out on the water.

He also loved helping. Wherever it was needed, he loved helping family and friends. And he very much enjoyed being a part of cook crews at the Elks Lodge. Being a part of something positive always left him with a sense of belonging and a sense of accomplishment. He was, and is, a very loyal friend to those around him.

For all the challenges he faced in life, Billy seemingly always found a way to make do and to help anything he was a part of to be laced with some fun. He had an infectious smile and laugh as he told his stories and jokes.

He had an incredible memory, able to recall different moments in life that he was a part of. He was a very loyal friend to his family, extended family, and to his friends.

Billy was able to be brought home for his final days and the family is so appreciative of how many friends came to Billy’s side, letting him know he was loved.

The family extended a very warm and loving “thank you” to his “adopted” Mom and Dad, Julie and Larry Fitzsimmons, for embracing Billy into their lives for so many years. Billy enjoyed being a part of that stable “family” world that they gave him. He knew he was loved inside that sense of “home” that the Fitzsimmons family provided for him.

It became a very important part of Billy’s life to be a good and present “Uncle Billy” to Kyle and Ethan. He loved that role. He also knew that Kyle and Ethan loved him in that role as they always stayed in touch with him when they were out of town or wanted him around their life moments like birthdays, fishing, and holidays. It was fun to see “Uncle Billy” glow when he would either talk about or be around Larry and Julie’s sons Kyle and Ethan.

And their perseverance to be with Billy in and to the end that helped get Billy home to be with family and friends at the end, is something that Billy’s family and friends will always be thankful for to Larry and Julie.

Billy was preceded in death by his dad Bill Brown; his mom Evelyn (Perkins) Brown; his uncle Walter Yatchmenoff, and his sister Terry Ann Brown. 

He is survived by his daughter Jessica Coonradt, his sister Helen Desjardin, Larry and Julie Fitzsimmons, Kyle Fitzsimmons, and Ethan Fitzsimmons.

Also surviving are his immediate Aunt Mary Alice Morey, immediate cousins Kim Perkins, Norma Perkins, Ramona Perkins, Keith Perkins, Rosalie (Perkins) McCrummen, Terri (Perkins) Pouliot, Shirl (Perkins) Stage, Alfred Perkins, Roger Perkins, Ronelle (Perkins) Brown as well as many more cousins, nieces, and nephews.

It was Billy’s wish to have his ashes shared with his Mom, Dad, and Uncle Walter, and no service.

“Those who knew Billy would know he would not want a memorial for him,” his family said. “He would rather want you to live, to laugh, and enjoy life. And to only smile when remembering him. Smile and laugh.”

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