Billy Bryan Brown
As we have all heard, Billy Brown of the TV series ‘Alaskan Bush People’, died on February 8th, 2021. He apparently suffered a seizure and passed away. Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Brown.
Billy was born in Texas and suffered the loss of his parents at an early age. At some point he gathered his wife, Ami, and moved to Alaska to live. Billy and Ami raised a family there and lived an adventurous life, which culminated in a starring role on the reality series, ‘Alaskan Bush People’, demonstrating how living in the bush was a lifestyle he loved. The series started in 2014 and was in production up to 2020. It was a major hit show on the Discovery network, and defined the way we perceived the man.
For the next six years we watched as the family survived the wilderness of Alaska, built houses, bought a boat, moved to the lower 48, had medical issues, got married, had kids and survived a fire. All very interesting stuff. There were many who watched and believed everything they did, and many who didn’t. Either way, Billy was the same throughout, a caring husband, father and grandfather. He had a dream of living in the wild, on his own terms and seemingly enjoying every minute of it. With all of the family’s ups and downs, Billy was at the center, guiding them onward.
I myself was intrigued when I saw the trailers in 2014, of a family that lived in the bush, struggling to live their lives to the fullest. I must admit, after watching a few episodes, I was disillusioned by what was shown. Eventually, I ended up writing recaps of the show, and what was presented. Some of it was heartwarming, some was pretty mundane, and some was laughable. But as the show progressed, I still enjoyed the series. As most reality shows goes, this one was very entertaining. Say what you will, to have your life story presented on national TV is pretty ballsy. I wouldn’t do it, to be scrutinized and criticized at every move I made is definitely not my cup of tea. And let’s be frank about it, who amongst us has not dreamed of a life beyond the nine to five existence that most of us share.
Of course that is only what we saw on the TV every week, and long after the family had actually moved to Alaska. What led up to that point was hit upon every so often on the show, but still, to have persevered up to that point without throwing in the towel is an accomplishment on its own. When the Discovery channel decided to have a series about them, I imagine the production supervisors stepped in with writers and plots to make the show that much more entertaining. Good or bad, Billy stuck with the direction he had laid out from the first episode. He stuck to the theme of family and unity.
It seemed to me that Billy was good guy, someone who I would of been happy to call a friend. Would I go into business with him, probably not, but it seems I could sit on a porch with him somewhere and share a story and a laugh.
In the end, if the show continues, he will be sorely missed, the family must miss him terribly. All I know is that I enjoyed the show, never missed an episode, called out the good and bad, and wished him well through it all.
Thank you Billy for everything that that you shared, the lessons learned, and the wonderful entertainment you gave us every time we tuned in. May you rest in peace.