Cyril M. Brown – Sergeant, United States Army

From a contemporary press reportL January 4, 2000:

Cyril M. Brown, who made a national name while working at the Detroit Free Press as the “grandpappy of co-op advertising,” died Friday of cancer at his Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, home. He was 77.

Known by his peers as Cy, Mr. Brown pioneered a practice in which manufacturers would pay retailers to advertise the manufacturers' products in the newspaper, said Jerry Teagan, vice president and business manager of the Free Press. The practice became known as co-op advertising.

Mr. Brown worked at the Free Press for 32 years, 30 of those years in management. He retired in 1985.

“He really made a national name for himself while working at the Free Press,” said his son, Kim Brown, who is the major accounts supervisor at the Ventura County Star newspaper in Ventura, California. He said his father was known as the “grandpappy of co-op advertising.”

Harry Lencione, who worked for Mr. Brown in the advertising department, said he'll remember his former boss' kindness. One time, Lencione botched a $1,700 ad and Mr. Brown simply told him, “Harry, where do I sign?” with no further questions in crediting the advertiser's account.

Born in Trenton, Ontario, Mr. Brown moved to the Detroit area when he was 8. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after being wounded in France.

Mr. Brown graduated from Wayne State University in 1950 with a major in social psychology. At WSU, he started a college veterans organization in 1947. He also met Molly Cunningham. They wed at Mayflower Congregational Church in Detroit and were married 48 years.

Mr. Brown was devoted to gardening and fishing. In 1955 and 1956, he had the North American record for the largest brook trout, said his son. The trout weighed 8 1/2 and 8 3/4 pounds, respectively.

He also was past president of the National Association of Co-Op Networks and was a longtime member of the Oakland Hills Country Club.

Other survivors include a daughter, Pam Gavin, and a grandson, Curtis Gavin.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Wm. R. Hamilton Co., 820 E. Maple in Birmingham. Burial will be at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

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