Billy D. Brown, 86

Billy D. Brown, of Montgomery, passed away on May 29, 2021, at the age of 86.

Bill was born in Newby, Oklahoma and lived there with his mother, a schoolteacher, and his younger brother, Clayton, until he completed the 8th grade. The family then moved to Burr Oak, Kansas where he graduated from High School in 1952. 

Following High School, Bill returned to Oklahoma where he attended Oklahoma Central University in Edmond for 2 ½ years majoring in pre-engineering. Shortly before his draft number came up in 1955, he joined the U.S. Navy as a cadet in their Pilot Training Program. This became the foundation of his lifelong career as a commercial airline Pilot for Northwest Airlines.

  In 1956, after a whirlwind courtship, he married Faye Pettit, whom he met in high school. Bill and Faye were stationed in San Diego, CA, Barber’s Point, HI, Pensacola, FL, and Iwakuni, Japan before he was discharged.

They moved to Minnesota, the home base of Northwest Airlines where he started flying and where he would stay for 30+ years. 

  He retired in 1993 after more than three decades of service to Northwest, where he flew the Boeing 707-320, Boeing 727, and McDonald Douglas DC-10.

For a significant portion of his career, he was a flight instructor, and known throughout the Pilot Corp for his gregarious personality and easy laughter. Everyone who flew with Billy loved him. 

  Billy and Faye made their life on a farm outside of Montgomery where they built a home in 1973, farmed, and raised two girls.

Billy was a crop farmer and raised purebred Limousin cattle. The entire family enjoyed showing cattle, and Bill and Faye were actively involved in the Minnesota Limousin Association, and both the Le Sueur and Rice County 4-H programs. 

He was a member of the American Legion, and the Montgomery Chapter of the Lions.

Billy loved to socialize. Spending time with friends was the highlight of his day. 

Billy was predeceased by his wife, Faye Caroline (Pettit) Brown. He is survived by two daughters; Renee Brown Goodell, Marlene (Steve) Pearce; two grandchildren, Madeline Goodell and Niklas Pearce; one brother, Clayton Brown; sisters-in law, Dixie (Ron) West, Marilyn Pettit and Virginia Pettit; along with numerous nieces and nephews. 

Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. at St John Lutheran Church in Montgomery on June 12, 2021. Services will begin at 11 a.m., followed by an interment at the graveside and a celebration of life from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Revival on Main, Montgomery. at the church.

Memorials in lieu of flowers should be sent to St. John Lutheran Church.

  Arrangements are with the Schoenbauer Funeral Home in Montgomery. 507-357-6116. On-line condolences may be left at


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