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OBITUARIES / Passings / William 'Sarge' Brown

Former Vail ski resort manager

September 19, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

William "Sarge" Brown, 85, who as mountain manager at Vail, Colo., helped develop the resort into one of the world's top ski areas, died Sunday at his home in Grand Junction, Colo., Vail Resorts officials said.

Brown introduced cutting-edge snowmaking, grooming and trail-cutting technologies as mountain manager from 1970 to 1989. He installed Vail's first snowmaking equipment, at Golden Peak, in 1970, and pioneered overnight grooming, now an industry standard.

Born in Cascade, Idaho, on Oct. 5, 1922, Brown learned to ski as a child and competed on the football and ski teams at the University of Idaho.

Brown joined the Army in 1942 and trained at Camp Hale in the Colorado Rockies with the 10th Mountain Division before fighting in Italy during World War II. He also served in the Korean War before leaving the Army in 1966.

He returned to Colorado, where other 10th Mountain Division veterans had started Vail, and got a job on the resort's trail crew. He was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1990, a year after he retired from Vail.

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Fred Eugene Cressel, 71, a businessman who served on the Compton City Council from 1995 to 1999 and was known as a community watchdog, died of cancer Saturday at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance.

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Warren Brown, 92, who played trombone in his brother Les Brown's Band of Renown, died Monday in Carlsbad, Calif., after a long illness.

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