Senior Center cools off with icy memorial gift

donation -- Lawyer Bob Browning says new ice machine is really a gift from his late wife, Judy
by: Nancy Townsley, Forest Grove resident Bob Browning fills up a glass with ice from a machine he and his late wife, Judy, donated to the local senior center early this month.

It was hot - very hot - one evening in late May when Japanese dinner guests arrived at the local senior center.

The visitors, who hailed from Nuyzen, Japan - Forest Grove's sister city - were polite and tolerant of the heat.

It was Bob Browning, a Forest Grove lawyer, who first asked for a glass of ice water.

'I got some water, and it was cold, but it wasn't iced,' recalled Browning, who had traveled with his wife, Judy, to Nuyzen in 1990.

'I thought to myself, 'they could use an ice machine.''

Judy Browning passed away May 2, just a few weeks before the overheated dinner meeting. She had attended many events at the senior center, her husband said.

'I knew this was something Judy would have done, so I made the donation for her,' Browning said, standing in front of the center's new industrial-size ice machine.

'This is really Judy's gift.'

Judy Browning suffered from fibromyalgia and other health complications. The couple would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on July 1.

Lucy Warren, executive director of the senior center, called the gift 'a much appreciated addition' to the center.

'We now have an endless supply of ice,' Warren said.

It's come in handy the last month or so, as high temperatures have broken records some days.

In fact, the senior center hosted a wedding July 8, when the thermometer topped out at 95 degrees.

'We got out our pitchers and filled them with ice,' Warren noted. 'Everyone was happy.'

The event with the folks from Nuyzen wasn't the only time the senior center lost its cool this year. The compressor that runs the center's walk-in cooler went on the fritz on another scorching afternoon, threatening to spoil pounds of perishable food inside.

To the rescue came Pete Van Dyke of Van Dyke Appliance in Forest Grove.

'We called up Van Dyke's (Appliances) and Pete came right over in his truck with a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer for us to use,' Warren said. 'We filled up the salad bar with ice and saved most of the food in the cooler.

'It's great the way people step up and help out,' she said.

For his part, Browning, who is active with the local Rotary Club, is glad to be part of what makes the center operate smoothly.

'There are lots of opportunities for memorial gifts,' he noted. Browning enoucrages people to be practical. Tables and chairs came to mind, he said, because 'stuff wears out.'