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Thomas E. Brownhill

November 27, 1921 - March 29, 2017


Thomas E. Brownhill of Eugene died March 29, 2017 of pneumonia. He was 95.

He was born November 27, 1921 in Warm Springs, Oregon, to William and Ada Randall Brownhill. He grew up on the family ranch on the Agency Plains near Gateway, Oregon and graduated from Madras High School, where he served as student body president for two years. He entered the University of Oregon in 1939 but withdrew to join the U.S. Army in December of 1941. He graduated from University of Oregon after the war.

Mr. Brownhill was a Purple Heart veteran of World War II, having served in the South Pacific Theater in the 41st Infantry Division (Oregon National Guard).  He entered Hiroshima days after the bomb exploded.
Mr. Brownhill married Jean McKenzie on September 8, 1946, at Umatilla, Oregon. She survives.

Mr. Brownhill graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1950. He went into private practice with family friend Frank Spittle in Astoria, Oregon and was elected District Attorney for Clatsop County in 1952. He served until 1960 when he joined the law firm of Riddlesbarger and Pederson in Eugene. He specialized in business litigation and international trade. He considered trial practice an art, and he carefully prepared for every trial.

In 1969, Mr. Brownhill joined W. H. Gonyea and Associates. He ran the Costa Rica operations and negotiated business deals in the U. S., Japan, and several other countries. After retirement in 1981, he pursued many interests including short story and screenplay writing, acting, and world travel. He studied politics, science, and astronomy, and he read five newspapers a day. He loved his family and taught his children and grandchildren the importance of education, self-discipline, delayed gratification (save money!), and honesty and integrity. He was witty and fun-loving and kind to everyone.

He served as president of the Clatsop County Bar Association, the Lane County Bar Association, and the Oregon District Attorneys’ Association. He was past president of Eugene Country Club. He was an avid Duck fan. He served a term on the board of directors of Oregon Club, and he handled legal matters for several UO athletes. He and Jean attended UO football and basketball games at home and away for over 60 years. He also was a Beaver fan -- except when they played the Ducks.

Survivors include his wife Jean; daughters and sons-in-law Ellen Brownhill, Paula Brownhill and Blair Henningsgaard, Betsy and John Bosch, and Ruth and Scott Katter; grandchildren Anna Henningsgaard (Brendan Berg), Vanessa Bosch Kerwood (Casey), Leslie Katter, Kari Henningsgaard, Sallie Katter Bixenman (Cole), and Blakeley Bosch; and a great-grandson Julian Henningsgaard. His sister Ann Austin predeceased him by 30 days.

The family is grateful to Sacred Heart Hospice for their excellent care during Mr. Brownhill’s brief illness and to Kathleen Chinn for her attentive and compassionate care.

Burial will be at the Milo Gard Cemetery on the Agency Plains north of Madras. He is going back very near where he started over 95 years ago.

Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

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He was so proud of his four girls. We had the opportunity to share many happy vacations and celebrations as a family. 



Please accept our most sincere condolences.  Tom was a very enjoyable person with whom to spend time.  He was smart, perceptive, funny and kind.  He will be sorely missed.

Lee Weichselbaum and Laura Brinn



Tom was my uncle.  I always had great feelings for him; he was one of the good ones.