FINDLAY — Delmont D. Brown, a former trustee of Bowling Green State University who helped transform the company his grandfather founded into a leading producer of synthetic materials used in highway and bridge building, died Monday in Blanchard Valley Hospital, Findlay. He was 94.
He had pneumonia, his son Warren said. He and his wife, Millie, divided their time the last two decades between Findlay and Sarasota, Fla.
Mr. Brown was a former president and owner of the D.S. Brown Co. of North Baltimore, Ohio, which made seals and other synthetics used in roads and bridges and airport runways. Business boomed as the interstate highway system was built.
“He claimed he had been to every state in one year, twice,” his son Steve said.
Mr. Brown retired in 1988 and sold the business to his brothers, who subsequently sold it. He was an investor in the late 1980s when his sons Steve and Warren formed D. S. TechStar Inc., which develops, engineers, and installs bridge construction materials around the world. He was secretary-treasurer.
“He was open and friendly, and he was a great listener, and he was able to interact with people at all levels,” said son Warren, TechStar vice president.
Mr. Brown served 13 years as a BGSU trustee after he was appointed in September, 1963, by Gov. James A. Rhodes. He was a former chairman of the Wood County Republican Party.
He was born Jan. 17, 1923, in Toledo to Mildred and Maurice Brown and grew up in North Baltimore. He was a 1941 graduate of North Baltimore High School. A student of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Brown entered the ROTC after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
He served in the European Theater starting in the fall of 1944. He was a liaison between headquarters and companies of the Rainbow Division — the 42nd Infantry — which made him a target for German snipers.
“He was shot at every night, driving that Jeep back and forth,” his son Warren said.
His units were among the first to see the horrors of Dachau, the concentration camp near Munich. Yet he kept his war anecdotes light, to “remember the funny experiences and not so much the tragic ones,” his son Warren said.
He was discharged from the Army as a captain. He received a bachelor’s degree from Penn in 1946.
Afterward, he played piccolo in Fostoria VFW post’s marching band, perennial winners of the VFW’s national marching band championship.
D.S. Brown, prewar, was known for making leather products. Afterward, Mr. Brown visited the laboratories in Delaware of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. to learn about making synthetic materials for use by the auto industry and construction. He held several patents and had been an associate of such organizations as the American Chemical Society.
He was a past president of the North Baltimore Board of Education. He was devoted to Rotary International and claimed 65 years of perfect attendance at a Rotary Club meeting, attending wherever he was in the world. He drove himself to a meeting two weeks ago, his sons said.
Survivors include his wife, the former Millie Etter, whom he married June 17, 1950; sons, Delmont “Steve,” Jeffrey, and Warren Brown, and seven grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday at Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home, Findlay, with funeral services at 2 p.m. Saturday.
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