Robert L. Brown, 72, of Decatur, passed away on Saturday, November 3, 2012, at Lutheran Hospital.
He was born in Adams County on August 13, 1940, to the late Clifford R. and Dorothy M. (Reidt) Brown.
Robert married Judy Nuzum in August of 1977; she died on August 12, 2011. He then married Edith Northup on September 15, 2012.
He attended Zion Friedheim Lutheran Church and was a former member of Peace Lutheran Church. Robert worked as a civil inspector for the state of Indiana. He volunteered for the Emergency Management Agency in Adams County. He was a lifetime member of the Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor Association and Sons of the American Legion Post 468 in Berne. He was also a member of the Blue Dots Motorcycle Club, Adams County Crime Stoppers, and a committee member of the Motorsports Festival.
He and his late wife, Judy, co-owned and operated J & B Grocery in Berne. They were also foster parents for several children.
In 1960, Robert was in a catastrophic industrial accident that left him a quadruple amputee, he was not expected to live. Not only did he survive, but went on to live an extraordinary life over and above an incident most people would not have survived.
Because of his character and zest for life, the Indiana Rehab Services commissioned Robert to give motivational speeches at many schools and facilities in the state. He would speak to students and recently disabled individuals about the power of never giving up. A famous phrase of his was that he was an American and the last 4 letters read, “I CAN”.
As a result of his condition he was appointed a member of the governor’s Disability Act Task Force, which set up rules and guidelines for handicap accessibility in Indiana and he has appeared before Congress.
Among survivors are his wife, Edith Northup Brown of Decatur; two stepsons, Mark (Tina) Sites of Butler and Morris Shull of Bozeman, Mont.; a stepdaughter, Virginia L. Moser of Kendallville; mother-in-law, Myrtle L. Nuzum of Fort Wayne; and three stepgrandchildren, Matthew Sites, Clint (Abbey) Sites, and Phoenix Shull.
A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7, at Haggard-Sefton & Hirschy Funeral Home, with memorial visitation from 5–7 p.m. Officiating will be Pastor Marvin Hinkle and Pastor Daniel Dahling.
Preferred memorials are to Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor Association in Portland or to Swiss Heritage Village & Museum in Berne.
Online condolences may be made at www.haggardandsefton.com .