Studebaker museum trustee Phillip Brown dies in crash of ’67 Avanti

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Phillip Brown, of Osceola, Ind., a trustee of the Studebaker National Museum, died Sunday, April 11, when he was ejected from his Avanti during a rollover accident near his home.

An article in the South Bend Tribune noted that at around 3:30 p.m., Brown apparently lost control of the car and it rolled several times before coming to a rest. Brown was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Brown was an active member of the Avanti Owners Association International and the Studebaker Drivers Club.

The Studebaker National Museum issued the following news release after learning of Brown’s death:

“The Board of Trustees and Staff of Studebaker National Museum are saddened by the sudden passing of Museum trustee and volunteer Phil Brown. Brown died Sunday, April 11, when his 1967 Avanti went out of control on Dragoon Trail. He was returning home from a meeting of the Pioneer Automobile Association at the Museum.

“’We’re shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of Phil Brown,’ said Mark McDonnell, President, Board of Trustees, Studebaker National Museum. ‘He was a man of great stature within the ‘Studebaker family’ and the 12,000 members of the international Studebaker Drivers Club. He has been the face of the Museum to so many across the country for many years.’ McDonnell added, ‘I have lost a very good friend who was a fine, fine man.’

“A museum trustee and volunteer for 25 years, Brown actively served on the museum’s Collections Committee as project manager for the restoration of several vehicles including the 1947 Woody Station Wagon, 1928 Commander and 1966 Cruiser. The 1928 Commander was restored for the Museum to participate in the 1990 Great American Race. The 1966 Cruiser was the last vehicle produced by the Studebaker Corporation in Canada. He represented the Museum at many car shows throughout the country.

“’I have known Phil for the past 27 years and he was part of the fabric here at the Studebaker National Museum,’ said Rebecca J. Bonham, executive director. ‘Always an ambassador for the history of the Studebaker Corporation and the role it played in our community, Phil was instrumental in garnering support from the international Studebaker Driver’s Club to build our new Museum. I will miss him terribly.’

“In addition, Brown and his wife Cindy served as the international Studebaker Drivers Club Meet Chairpersons in 1983 and 2007, and he chaired the Studebaker Drivers Club Capital Cost Fund Committee. He was an active member and served as past president of the Pioneer Auto Association, the Antique Studebaker Club and Avanti Owners Association International. He served on the board of directors of the S. Ray Miller Car Museum in the early 1990s and was the chairperson of the local Studebaker Swap Meet for many years.

“Brown and his wife were honored by the Studebaker National Museum in 2008 with the Spirit of Studebaker Award for his commitment to the Museum and recognized by the South Bend/Mishawaka Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2008 with a Live the Legends Tourism Partnership Award for his role as meeting planner for the 2007 Studebaker Drivers Club international meet in South Bend.

“He was a 40-year employee of Ava Maria Press and owner of Phil’s Studebaker Parts.”


 

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