SECTION, Ala. — Harland G. Brown “H.B.” of Section, Ala., formerly of Peru, died Sunday, Dec. 16.
He was born Sept. 20, 1950, in Rumford, the son of Roger and Laura Brown. He grew up in Peru with two sisters and two brothers. Harland joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1969. He was a member of Kilo Battery Fourth BW 11 Marine, Ross Combat Base RVN (Vietnam). He was honorably discharged in 1971. It was while stationed in Vietnam that he contacted “Agent Orange.” His death was due to complications from this.
Over the early years, “H.B.” worked at various body shops in the Mexico and Rumford areas. He also spent numerous winters in the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., area. He finally settled in Section, Ala., around 1998 with friends living in that area. He built a home and workshop to continue his passion “Wild Ride Customs.”
Harland was well-known all along the East Coast for his radical custom vans and cars. His first car after his discharge was a 1967 Mustang Fastback, followed by “Poison Ivy,” a 1964 Impala lifted with a yellow and green paint scheme. He also did up a 1966 Chevy van with a painted desert scene and era correct “Keep On Truckin” painted on the rear. Next was a 1964 custom Corvair van.
Next came his most radical van “The Pink Vanther.” He spent hundreds of hours shortening, wedging and fully customizing the complete van. Once again his famous “Jacked to the Heaven” look. You almost needed a ladder to get into it. This was featured in “Truckin” Magazine. Next was a1964 Ford econaline van/pick-up. This was fully custom and painted green. It was appropriately named “Van Kermit.” After that was a 1969 Chevy El Camino.
Harland’s last radical van was a jacked-up four-wheel drive 1966 Chevy van. Because of his Marine background and his illness, he contacted in Vietnam, “H.B.” named his “Agent Orange.” Again, this was tricked out with murals, custom interios and wild orange paint scheme. His final custom was a 1932 Ford coupe, bright blue. His final days were spent finishing this.
Harland is survived by a son, Brandon Gorham of Massachusetts; his brother, Robert Brown and his wife, Brenda, of Peru; his brother, David Brown of Rumford; sisters, Joyce Berry of Phillips and Lois Brown and partner, Grey, of Rumford; nephew, Dan Brown of Peru; and niece, Lisa Adams of Phillips.
He was predeceased by his parents, Roger and Laura Brown; and nephews, Jason D. Brown and Eric Berry.
The family would also like to thank his friends in Section, Ala., who were there over the years and kept a close watch on him. Thank You!
There will be a graveside ceremony with full military honors in the spring. A date will be announced later.