Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Ernest 'Nate' Brown Jr.


Ernest Nathan "Nate" Brown Jr., 94, born May 11, 1921, to Ernest Nathan (Ernie) Brown Sr. and Eunice Williams Brown, passed away peacefully in his home off Coalmine Draw Rd. in Grass Creek, Wyo., on April 24, 2016, in the company of his wife and children. 

Born in Lander, Wyo., (Nate's grandfather surveyed the town), Nate grew up in Crowheart working on his parents' ranch and running wild horses on Crowheart Butte in his youth. Horses were his best friends from the time he first sat on a horse in the arms of the local schoolteacher when he was three days old until the day he passed. 

 In 1941, Nate's family moved to the ranch in Grass Creek where they ran a cattle and horse operation until 1989, when Nate sold out and retired for the first time. In 2003, Nate and his wife, MaeCile, repurchased the ranch and transferred their horsemanship program, HorseWorks Wyoming, to Grass Creek. During his decades ranching, Nate was also Horse Program Coordinator for the Girl Scout National Center West, hunting guide in Venus Basin above Meeteetse, wrangler and guide at the High Island guest ranch, farrier and horse trainer for everyone in the country and mentor to many for whom he was the pa or grandpa they never had. Nate rode miles to attend dances, call dances and dance with every girl there. He knew how to flatter the girls and it brought joy to the whole room. He inspired people and horses by his kind, gentle, patient ways. Besides being a great cowboy, he touched the hearts of people from all over the world who rode with him on the ranch, or whom he met as he traveled in Mexico, Spain, China and Mongolia. One of his dreams fulfilled was riding from New Mexico to Canada in 2009, at 88 years old, the oldest participant to accomplish this. This same year, he was named Cowboy of the Year. Watching him ride and conserve his horse on long cattle drives was a lesson. His stories about past horses and older times always had something one could use in them. He was older than his years, which is saying something, but he was raised like an old timer and knew the things they knew. Nate is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

 He is survived by Anna MaeCile Eastin Brown, whom he married in 1996; son Ronald Eugene (Carla) Brown; daughter Shirley Brown (Bill) Spuhl; grandchildren Ronda (Rocky) McLean, Darcy (Dan) Morris, James Peterson and Holly (Opie) Love; great-grandchildren Kara McLean (Pete) Wipf, Curtis (Casey) McLean, Shane (Luda) Love, and Heather Love, and great, great-grandson Dillion McLean. 

 Nate was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Karen Sue Brown; and sister, Linda Mae Brown,

In lieu of flowers, send hay or make a tax-deductible donation to the non-profit, Wrangler Ranch, c/o Bryant Funeral Home, PO Box 524, Worland, WY  82401.

 For more of the loving, exciting, adventure-laden and song-filled story of this horse-loving rancher, cowboy poet and composer, click on "Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame Nomination" at and visit Online condolences may be made at

 A celebratory gathering will be held for family and friends to meet, eat and reminisce on Saturday, September 24, 2016, in Thermopolis (location to be confirmed). 



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