The Star - News, views and advertising of the Grand Coulee Dam Area

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 



Last week I wrote a column called “This old truck.” I got a lot of good feedback from guys and a few gals. But Saturday I got to see an old truck in action as it carried the casket of my good friend and mentor, Derlyn Brown. The truck was an antique Grand Coulee Fire Department truck from an era gone by, and it was Derlyn’s request that he ride in a fire truck when he passed. I got that request as Grand Coulee and the USBR Fire Department honored him.

I learned a lot about the man I thought I knew during his funeral. I knew that he put God first in his life. I also knew how important his family and church were to him. But I did not know that he had a friend named Gator, who would protect him during his high school days. (Why anyone would mess with someone who had a friend named “Gator” is beyond me.) I also did not know that he was a wrestling star at Moses Lake. I did know about his mission to Navajo Nation. Well, kind of; let me explain.

I knew Derlyn from the fire department. He was well known for always having a joke. As a matter of fact, when he and Rodney Bise got around each other and started telling jokes, your sides would end up hurting before the night was over. So when Derlyn started a conversation once with “Ya-tah-hey,” I thought it was just one more beginning to a joke. He went on to tell me he spent some time in Navajo country, with a smile on his face, and I was forever waiting for the punchline. The punchline never came. All these years I thought he was joking. But he was not. He went on a two-year mission there right out of school and went in the service right after his mission. I looked up the meaning of the phrase after the funeral. In the original Navajo text it means “to do good.” That is exactly what Derlyn did with his life; he did good.

He did good, by his family, his friends, his coworkers and his God. His girls are doing much good; his grandkids are also doing much good; he and his wife did good. Right up to the very end. I knew Derlyn had just returned from another mission. What I did not know was it was an 18-month excursion. He lived in his camper with his wife for that duration. His good friends served along with him in Utah. He returned from that not very long ago. You see, he was doing good right up to the very end.

I believe Derlyn lived a life that we should all look at as the model for ourselves. He loved to laugh, he loved his family, he loved his fellow man and woman, and he loved his God. I am sure he is somewhere now telling a joke or a story about Navajo Nation or giving nicknames to people in heaven. You will be missed here on earth, Derlyn. “Ya-tah-hey,” my friend.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019