In Memoriam: Thomas H. Corson

Author: Notre Dame Law School

Thomas Corson

The Law School community was saddened to learn of the recent passing of longtime friend and Law School Advisory Council member Thomas H. Corson.

Tom served on the Advisory Council from 1986 through 2012, while his daughter, Claire Corson Skinner '81 J.D., served from 1993 through 2014.

In addition to his daughter, Tom is survived by his son Benjamin (Linda) Corson, three grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, his partner Meurlene Teague, one half-sister and two sisters-in-law.

He was a resident of Naples, Florida, and of Middlebury, Indiana, where he died December 23 at the age of 92.

After graduation from Elkhart (Indiana) High School in 1945, Tom proudly served in the U.S. Naval Air Force, V5 Pilot Training Program. In 1948, he married Dorthy Scheide of Tenaha, Texas, with whom he shared 67 years of devoted marriage until her death in 2016.

Tom began his career with Associates Investment Company in 1948. In 1964, he co-founded Coachmen Industries Inc. with Dorthy and his brothers Keith and Claude. 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 the country.

Tom received numerous awards for both his RV industry activities and civic contributions. Most recently, he was honored by receiving the Junior Achievement’s C.G. Conn Award (2016), being inducted into the Indiana University President’s Circle (2017), and receiving the Indiana University South Bend’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 Saint Mary’s College (Business Council).

The Corsons always generously gave back to the community. They were long-term supporters of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Mayo Clinic, the University of Notre Dame, and the First United Methodist Church of Middlebury. They also provided funding for Indiana University’s Elkhart campus and scholarships in both nursing and the arts at Indiana University South Bend, Ivy Tech, WNIT, Goshen College, the Lerner Theater, the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and the Elkhart County Parks Department.

Burial, with military honors provided by the U.S. Navy, took place January 11 in Middlebury, Indiana.

Memorials may be given to the Interlochen Center for the Arts (Thomas H. Corson Memorial Fund), P.O. Box 199, Interlochen, MI 49643; and the First United Methodist Church of Middlebury, 720 S. Main St., Middlebury, IN 46540.