Dedicated VFW member killed in morning crash
BY BRIAN STANLEY firstname.lastname@example.org August 23, 2013 9:30PM
Stone City VFW member Jay Paul signs a sympathy card Thursday for the family of Curt Brown, who died in an auto accident Tuesday. | Brian Stanley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 26, 2013 6:44AM
JOLIET — The toughened veteran sitting at the bar Thursday at the Stone City VFW Post 2199 and the woman serving drinks behind it both choked up remembering Curt Brown.
Brown, 81, was on his way to start cooking in the kitchen Tuesday morning when his van pulled in front of a dump truck and was struck at Brandon and Laraway roads. The Army veteran, who served in the Korean War, died in the crash, police said.
“I was listening on the radio and hoped (being so close to the post) it wasn’t somebody I knew. It’s a terrible tragedy,” veteran Jay Paul said before adding to the 20 signatures on a sympathy card for Brown’s family.
Paul recalled that when he joined Post 2199 in 1969 Brown was a member.
Several post members described Brown as a dedicated colleague who would volunteer for almost every event the post held and maintained a friendly attitude to everyone.
A man who asked to be identified only as Marty K said Brown was great at remembering people’s names, even if they’d only met once.
But he said there were other topics the retired millworker at Sheffield Steel wasn’t as conversational about.
“He made the best-flavored mostaccioli sauce I’ve ever had, and I’d always ask him for the recipe,” Marty K said. “He could give you some of the basics, but he’d never tell the secrets.”
Brown was making sauce at the post Monday night, the last time members saw him.
The bingo game he would’ve run was held as scheduled Wednesday night. It was emotionally rough for many who attended, but Brown would’ve wanted it to go on, members said.
“It’s going to be very hard to fill his shoes with everything he did here,” Paul said.
Brown is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joyce, and two daughters and a granddaughter.
Visitation was Friday at Fred C. Dames Funeral Home, followed by burial with full honors at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.
Brown’s sister, Lola Smith, said he will be missed even more by his family than his friends at the post.
“He was such a good man and he cared about us,” she said. “He’d always loved fishing in his free time and recently took his great-grandson, Ethan, with him for the first time. They both loved it.”