Charles Winston (C.W.) Brown
June 15, 1932-February 15, 2007
Charles Winston (C.W.) Brown was born on June 15, 1932 on a ranch south of Rushville, Nebraska to Charles and Eleanor Winston Brown. Charles Winston Brown had one sister, Charlene Brown Boulware. C.W. attended a country school until he entered Rushville High School, where he graduated at age fifteen and then spent a year working on a ranch before entering the New Mexico Military Institute. Charlie joined the rodeo club at the institute, competing as a calf roper and stepping in as a rodeo announcer as well.
Summers were spent working on the ranch as just another hand, but forever soaking up knowledge and a love for the lifestyle. Sundays were spent as a left handed first baseman on the sandlot baseball team and competing at the local roping club. He also honed his announcing skills in the crow's nest. Charlie knew that his father didn’t feel he was ready to take over the ranch, so he patiently waited for quite some time before he was old enough to be sworn into the regular Army, where he was sworn in as a second Lieutenant by the County Judge.
C.W. married Sherry Church in November 1958. He and Sherry had two children, a son Stephen Brown and daughter, Christi Stewart Brown. He taught ROTC at Texas Tech where he sponsored a five hundred member rodeo team. He was stationed in numerous countries, including France, Germany, Vietnam, and Korea. And although his life in the military took him all over the world, in war and peace, his heart never left the ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills. While in Germany he competed in rodeos with his troops, thus earning the title “Cowboy General.” C.W. was described by the Rocksprings Record of Texas as both “one of the great leaders in the U.S. Army and a true American cowboy.” He received the bronze star for valor, the Legion of Merit badge twice, and the Distinguished Service Medal, among others.
Charlie often confided that he was anxious to finish his army career and take over the ranch. Senator Chuck Hagel stated, “At the end of his career, his respect in the Middle East extended equally among the Israeli as well as the Arab leaders. He could walk with cowboys and kings and be equally at home.” Friends have stated that what he lacked in size, he made up for with determination and brains. He was never happier than the day he hung up his uniform, put on his boots and departed Washington D.C. He made his home in Monument, Colorado, midway between NMMI and the Rushville, Nebraska ranch.
When C.W. returned home, he was able to fulfill his lifetime dream of becoming the sole owner of the ranch, and he received the AK-SAR-BEN 100 year award for keeping the ranch in the Brown family.
He added a touch of the old west at the ranch where he restored the original log cabin his grandfather built on the homestead, which became his headquarters when he was at the ranch. He forever worked toward improving the ranch and the cattle herd, buying only the best angus bulls to fit his herd of premium black cows, which he culled heavily.
Before his untimely death, Charlie was able to celebrate the ranch’s existence for over a century. He wasn’t able to see his other dream of his grandson taking over the ranch, for he died just fourteen days after being diagnosed with leukemia. He was seventy four years old when he departed this earth to the big spread in the sky. Charles is buried in the Rushville Fairview Cemetery in the American Legion section. He always wanted to be buried in his beloved Sandhills.
His friends and neighbors in Sheridan County are very proud of their “Cowboy General.” Many remember him spending the evenings sitting on the deck of his cabin, overlooking the meadows where the cattle were grazing, while watching the spectacular Sandhills sunset. Charles would look at you, grin, and say, “It just doesn’t get any better than this!”