Vernon Wilburt Bown (1917-2012)

May 7, 2012

This past March 23, Vernon Bown, one of the last surviving US volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, passed away at the Veteran’s Administration Rehabilitation Center in Martinez, California. Vern Bown grew up in North-Western Wisconsin. After serving in Spain he joined the Merchant Marine during World War II. He married Ruth Keller, née Davidow, who had worked as a nurse in Spain. In the 1950s, Vern was a driving force in the Civil Rights movement. “All of the situations and struggles I have participated in throughout my life stemmed pretty much from the same reason I went to Spain,” he said later: “my extreme dislike, and yes, hatred of oppression … I’ve always felt a kinship with the oppressed” (Carroll, The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, p. 353).

For an obituary, see here.