Helen Marie Aspaas Brown

Longtime Cortez resident Helen Marie Brown died Tuesday, March 13, 2012. She was 91.

Mrs. Brown was born June 12, 1920, to Ralph and Allie Ward Aspaas in Durango. She grew up in the Hesperus area, graduated from Durango High School in 1937 and attended Fort Lewis College for one year in 1937.

In 1941, Mrs. Brown completed nurse’s training at Mercy Medical Center in Denver.

Mrs. Brown became an officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, serving in mobile army surgical hospitals in France, Germany and England during World War II.

Present at the “Battle of the Bulge,” Mrs. Brown cared for wounded American soldiers, staying behind while the hospital was under German command.

In 1945, Mrs. Brown returned to Western Colorado and on Dec. 19, 1945, she married Fred Blackmer in Albuquerque. The marriage ended in divorce.

During her career, Mrs. Brown provided care to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Towaoc, later at the Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez. In the mid-1970s, Mrs. Brown earned a master’s degree in public-health administration.

Mrs. Brown married Charles Dewey Brown, in Cortez on June 15, 1974. In the mid-1980s, the couple retired to Sun City, Ariz.

Before her retirement in 1984, Mrs. Brown worked as director of the Tri-County Health Department headquartered in Montezuma County.

Mrs. Brown enjoyed golfing and socializing, and she was an accomplished painter and an avid bridge player, her family said.

She was preceded in death by her first husband Fred Charles Blakmer and her husband of 17 years, Charles Dewey Brown.

Mrs. Brown is survived by her daughter, Christine Hoffman of Grand Junction; her son Patrick Blackmer of Grand Junction; seven grandchildren; one step-grandson and seven great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at St. Barnabas Church in Cortez. Burial will follow in the Cortez Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be made to St. Barnabas Episcopal Church or to any desired charity.

For further information or to send condolences, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.