One of the founders of Coachmen Industries Inc., Claude Edward Corson, 80, died at his home Sunday afternoon (May 9) following an extended illness.
He was born Dec. 19, 1929 in Elkhart, Ind., to Carl W. and Charlotte (Keyser) Corson. He married Sue Main on Dec. 29, 1963, in Leesburg, Ind. She survives along with their daughter, Claudia Sue (Larry) Adams of Indianapolis; two grandsons, Craig and Drew Adams; two brothers, Thomas H. (Dot) Corson, Middlebury; Keith D. (Janice) Corson, Granger; and a sister, Judith K. (Larry) Lentz, Elkhart. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Rosalie P. Corson in 2006.
A 1947 graduate of Elkhart High School, he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War after which he attended the University of Maryland and worked in the public relations and advertising fields. In 1964, he and his brothers, Tom and Keith Corson founded Coachmen Industries Inc. in Middlebury, Ind. Claude Corson designed, built and sold Coachmen’s earliest prototypes and participated in the company’s early diversification of acquiring Kenco Engineering Co., Viking Boat Co., Henco Enterprises, and in starting Coachlite Supply Co.
Corson left active employment with Coachmen in 1970 and founded or co-founded several other businesses, including Unitron Engineering, Intertec Supply, Quest Products, and First React Medical Supplies. He was a past member of the Elcona Country Club, The Elks and a current member of the American Legion Post # 210, Middlebury. He was a member of the Hillcrest United Methodist Church, Elkhart. Retired pastor Don Carpenter will officiate the funeral service.
Friends may call 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday (May 12) at the Miller-Stewart Funeral Home, 1003 South Main Street, Middlebury, Ind., and services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday (May 13) at the funeral home. Burial will be in Grace Lawn Cemetery, Middlebury, immediately following the service with full military rites performed by the American Legion Post. Memorials may be given to the Boys and Girls Club of Middlebury or Care at Home Hospice of Goshen General Hospital, Goshen, Ind.