Earl “Bates” Brown, 93, a lifelong Milford resident passed away on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at his home in Milford. He was born on September 14, 1924 in Milford, the son of Earl and Mary (Adams) Brown. He married Frances Minard on June 26, 1948 and she preceded him in death on February 16, 2016.

Surviving are two daughters, Deborah (Tom) Landry of Tucson, AZ and Linda (Jay) Slife of Union Grove, WI; one son, Daryl Brown of Hoopeston; four grandchildren, Justin and Ben Slife and Jessica and DJ Brown; seven great-grandchildren, Nicholas, Andrew, Leah, Alana, Maggie, Layla, and Jay R.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his wife and parents, Bates was preceded in death by two sisters, Betty McCray and Lauradean Hinkle; and one brother, Cecil.

Bates was an avid sports fan. In high school, he was the captain of his football team and athlete of the year in 1942. He liked to talk about his team’s achievement as conference champs, which didn’t happen again until his son’s team years later. In his youth, he also played on the Milford Indies softball team. He later served as a Boy Scout leader, financial secretary of Carpenter’s Union Local 1793 and on the Milford High School Board of Education.

Being drafted right out of high school, Mr. Brown served three years in the Army Air Corps during World War II as Crew Chief on a B29 bomber on the island of Tinian in the South Pacific. He was assigned to the atomic bomb squadron and helped maintain the famous B29 Superfortress, Lucky Lady.

Upon returning home after the war, Mr. Brown owned and operated Bates Brown & Son General Contracting for 40 plus years. During that time, he built close to 100 homes and businesses in Milford and the surrounding area. After retirement from his own business, he served for 20 years as Iroquois County Construction Inspector retiring from that position a few weeks prior to his passing.

Mr. Brown was a member of the Milford Christian Church and served humbly. He had enthusiastically built the church earlier in his career, an effort he wore as a great badge of honor.

Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. until the 1:00 p.m. funeral service on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at Milford Christian Church in Milford. Revs. Neil Larimore and Brent Zastrow will officiate.

Burial will take place at 1:00 pm on Friday, May 25, 2018 at Maple Grove Cemetery with graveside military rites by Watseka American Legion Post #23 and Iroquois County VFW Post #7450.

Memorials may be made to Iroquois Memorial Hospice or Milford Christian Church.

Arrangements by Knapp Funeral Home in Milford.

Please share a memory of Bates at


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