Thomas H. Corson
Thomas Harold Corson, 92, of Middlebury, Indiana and Naples, Florida
peacefully passed away in his Indiana home on December 23, 2019.
Surviving Tom are his son Benjamin (Linda) Corson; his daughter Claire
Corson (Jim) Skinner; three grandchildren: Sarai Capael, Charlotte
Corson (Matthias) Wolf and Nicholas (Tiffany) Corson; and four great-
grandchildren: Bradley Corson, Brint Corson, Lillian Wolf and Fiona
Wolf. Tom is also survived by his special friend and partner Meurlene
Teague, half-sister Judi (Larry) Lentz; and widowed sisters-in-law Janice
(Keith) Corson and Patricia Sue (Claude) Corson. He is preceded in death
by his parents, siblings Keith D. Corson, Claude E. Corson and Rosalie
P. Corson, and his beloved wife, Dottie.
Born on October 15, 1927 to Carl W. and Charlotte (Keyser) Corson in
Elkhart, Indiana, Tom was truly a self-made man whose strong work ethic
and sense of responsibility shaped his life. At the age of 9, Tom assumed
responsibility for helping raise his younger siblings when his father died
unexpectedly. After graduation from Elkhart (Indiana) High School in
1945, Tom proudly served in the United States Naval Air Force, V5 Pilot
Training Program. In 1948 Tom married Dorthy Scheide of Tenaha, Texas
with whom he shared 67 years of devoted marriage until her death in
Tom began his career with Associates Investment Company in 1948. In
1964 Tom co-founded Coachmen Industries, Inc. with his brothers Keith
and Claude and wife Dottie. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, he
led Coachmen (NYSE: COA) to become one of the largest and most
respected recreational vehicle and modular housing manufacturers in
Tom was very involved in numerous RV industry activities throughout
his career and he positively impacted civic affairs throughout the state of
Indiana. His Industry contributions were recognized by many awards
including his induction into the RVMH Hall of Fame (1990), RVIA’s
‘Industry Leadership Award’ (1992), RVDA’s iconic ‘Titan” Award’ (1995),
and the IMHA-RVIC ‘Legacy Award’ (2002).
His civic contributions were recognized by numerous awards including
induction into the Indiana Business Hall of Fame (1999), IUSB’s ‘E. M.
Morris Award’ (1982), Ernst & Young’s ‘Master Entrepreneur of Indiana
Award’ (1996), Lion’s Club ‘Citizen of the Year Award’ (1997), ‘Sagamore
of The Wabash Award’ (1998), Impact Player - 20 People from the 20th
Century’ (1999), and the Indiana Chamber’s ‘Distinguished Leadership
Award’ (2001). More recently, Tom was honored by the Junior
Achievement’s C.G. Conn Award (2016), induction into the IU President’s
Circle (2017) and receipt of the IUSB’s Chancellor’s Award (2017).
A strong proponent of education, Tom provided leadership to numerous
educational institutions including Ball State University (Board of
Trustees), Indiana University (Chancellor’s Council), Interlochen Center
for the Arts (Board of Trustees), University of Notre Dame (Law School
Advisory Council), Purdue University (President’s Council), and St. Mary’
s College (Business Council).
Youth-oriented organizations include the Middlebury Boys and Girls
Club, Middlebury Dollars for Scholars, YMCA-YWCA, Hugh O’Brien Youth
Foundation, Bashor Home, and the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry with its’
Masonic Learning Center in South Bend, Indiana. Tom was recognized
by the Boy Scouts of America-LaSalle Council ‘Distinguished Citizen
Award’ (1993) and he was named a ‘33 Degree Honorary Member of the
Northern Masonic Jurisdiction’ (2001), an honor reserved for the very
Tom and Dottie Corson always generously gave back to the community.
The Corson’s were long-term supporters of Interlochen Center for the
Arts, Mayo Clinic, University of Notre Dame, and the First United
Methodist Church of Middlebury. In addition, they provided funding for
Indiana University’s Elkhart Campus and scholarships in both nursing
and the arts at IUSB, Ivy Tech, WNIT, Goshen College, the Lerner Theater,
the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and the Elkhart County
Visitation will be from 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM on Friday January 10, 2020 at
Miller-Stewart Funeral Home, 1003 S. Main Street, Middlebury. There will
also be one hour of visitation prior to 11:00 AM funeral service on
Saturday, January 11, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church, 720 S.
Main Street, Middlebury; burial will follow immediately at Grace Lawn
Cemetery, Middlebury. Military Graveside Honors will be provided by the
U.S. Navy. Reverend Ron Russell will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Interlochen Center for
the Arts (Thomas H. Corson Memorial Fund), PO Box 199, Interlochen MI
49643; and the First United Methodist Church of Middlebury, 720 S. Main
Street, Middlebury, IN 46540.
~ ~ ~ ~ Online Condolences ~ ~ ~ ~
My deepest sympathies go to the Corson Family.
May God Bless his soul.
From: Lana J. Jeffrey
~ ~ ~ ~
Prayers to the family of this stalwart of the community and the RV
Industry. May God bless his soul.
From: Gregg Fore
~ ~ ~ ~
Claire and Jim, I send my most sincere condolences to you forgot your
loss. Tom was a special person, and I feel honored that I had the
privilege to have worked for him.
From: Rene Wenger
~ ~ ~
We are deeply saddened by the loss of your father. He & your mother
were like second parents to me growing up in Pittsburgh & again when
I moved to Middlebury. May your happy memories help ease the pain
you feel at this time. Much love.
From: Kim & Bob Huber