Larita F (Updike) Brown, born June 27, 1954, Newcastle, Wyoming, to Larry and Norita (Currey) Updike.
Larita passed away November 6, 2020, surrounded by her loving family; at least, she passed away peacefully in her sleep. She just slipped away from us as bad as we did not want her to go. She passed away in her home, the way she wanted with no fuss or fanfare; she did it her way.
Larita married the love of her life; her “knight in shining armor” as she would say, Douglas Brown on April 15, 1972, income Tax Day. That day was chosen so Doug would not ever forget their anniversary date; she did it her way. Larita planned her wedding and put it all together all by herself. She paid for everything herself and did all of this with money earned from working at the Howdy Do Drive In for 75 cents per hour, plus tips. She was the most beautiful bride and it was a grand wedding indeed! To this union came four children; three daughters: Kimberly, twins Miranda and Paula and an adopted son, Scott.
Larita was a private person but was also very compassionate and understanding. She was an alpha female; a true leader, very unique and such a special person. The words cannot be found to describe the true Larita. She did it her way.
Here are a few memories that the family would like to share:
The first one that comes to mind is when she, at about eight-years-old, and her sister were staying at an aunt’s house. The aunt brought them sunglasses. When it was time for bed, Larita insisted on wearing hers to bed. The aunt said, “no”; but did ask her why she needed to do this. Larita replied, “I need to see my dreams in color.” Both of her sisters were in awe at the reply and still are today.
After marriage and having her children, Larita wanted better for herself and her family. She had never graduated from high school and it bothered her immensely. So, she went on to pursue her GED, she said that was real easy to pass. She took the test for the U.S. Postal Service and was told she scored in the top few percent of people to take that test, therefore she became an employee at the Post Office in Osage.
Many people did not know that Larita was an excellent artist and craftsman. She would doodle on anything that was at hand: sticky notes, envelopes, slips of paper; and her drawings were beautiful. She never pursued her talents in art. She did it her way.
Larita was devoted to her children and their interests; she was a good mother. Sports, Brownies, Girl Scouts, FFA, FBLA. She would go out and pitch and bat, and help them with speeches and sales, and all of their school work. When the children were good, life was good; however, when the children were bad, they were disciplined. She did it her way.
In Doug and Larita’s early years in businesses, Larita was right there every step of the way. She operated the big trencher, the dump truck, and various other pieces of equipment; whatever it took to get the job done. She helped in the oil field; for instance, when Doug was sick with the flu, she would drive him to the field, gauge tanks, check oil in the putt-putt engines, etc. Larita was super hard-working and was always a bundle of energy. She did the books for all of their businesses and was very good at it. She did it her way.
One of her greatest accomplishments, she was proud of the most, was she and Doug building their own log home and doing the majority of the work themselves.
Larita must have had a midlife crisis when she decided to purchase the Old Mill Restaurant in Newcastle, Wyoming, while in her 40s. She operated that business for 13 years; she did it her way. While under her ownership, the Old Mill was a very successful business. Nothing super fancy, but the best down-to-earth home cooking. Most of the recipes were from her personal life, with an open mind of letting her employees put some of their own on the menu. Larita was the best cook following in the footsteps of her grandmother Ginger Currey. Larita loved her employees, her loyal customers, and considered them all family. Tourist came back year after year just to eat at the Old Mill and to see Larita. They always asked for her, especially during the Sturgis Rally.
Larita was a spunky 4’10 ½”, 90 pound spitfire. She never backed down from anyone or anything, therefore Doug affectionately nicknamed her “The Little Rip”. One incident that happened when she owned the Old Mill was these carnival workers were in the lounge and one was causing problems, he was about 6’3”. She had warned him several times to knock it off. Finally, she had enough of his crap and escorted him outside. Once outside, the guy turned and kicked the glass door; it shattered, she was pissed. He took off running; with Larita in hot pursuit when she suddenly jumped and tackled him to the ground. One of the people who witnessed this said quick as a flash she pulled his arms behind him up his back and had her knee planted firmly in his back with his face in the gravel before he realized what had happened. One of the bystanders asked if she needed help. She said “NO JUST CALL 911” and held him like that until the police arrived, the cops had a good chuckle. Another witness said by the look on his face he probably thought he had a wolverine on his back. She did it her way!
The above were only a few of her accomplishments and life stories. But, they were some of her fondest. The family would have to write a book to tell them all.
Larita battled rheumatoid arthritis for 25 years, but lost her battle with bone cancer. Her wishes were that the politicians, the medical field, and big pharmaceuticals would work on cures for these terrible diseases, instead of masking the symptoms and the pain. Larita often wondered why polio and malaria were essentially wiped out in a short time, but not these other terrible disease. Her personal ailments brought more pain than she would ever let anyone know. She did it her way!
At Larita’s request there will be no services or memorial and such; we are going to do it her way!
Larita is survived by her husband Doug; daughters Kimberly (Bobby) Crislip and extended family, Miranda Segar, Paula (Wes Larabee) Brown, Scott (Kara) Brown. Granddaughters Kaylee Johnson, Lacey Johnson. Grandsons Jared Brown (Elyn and great grandbaby on the way), Bryon Johnson, Lane, Robert, Coleman, and Joseph Brown, Rylan Fladstol. Great grandchildren Talon Agulara, Arianna and Ryan Gonzolas. Her sisters Kim Gilbreath and Robin (David) Miller of Lubbock, TX. Mother-in-law Bubbles Brown, brother and sister-in-law David and Joni Brown, sister-in-laws Linda Gates and Shelia McGoldrick. Numerous nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other extended family members.
Preceded in death by grandparents Henry and Nellie Updike, Leo and Virginia Currey. Parents Larry Updike and Norita Vaughn. Nephew Ryan Bull.