Michael Mayfield, retired Chair, Science Division, and Instructor of Biological Sciences at the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities at Ball State University, shared the following memory of Timmy Brown on Jan. 5, 2023.
Autumn Saturdays, in my youth, meant Ball State football at the field across from Ball Memorial Hospital. There were open bleachers, so you sat right down on the field and up close. It was small college football at its finest.
At the end of the game the kids (of which I was one) rushed the Ball State bench as the players were leaving. The kids were after a souvenir of the day from a local hero. This was generally a chin strap from one of the player’s football helmets. The most prized of these when I was little being from Tim Brown. The first kid who got to a player got the chin strap and then afterwards we’d gather and compare our successes and failures.
I remember once I got the prized Tim Brown chin strap. I was 5 or 6 and most of the kids were a few years older and bigger. I remember Mr. Brown looking down at the group of kids surrounding him and jostling each other. Unsnapping his chin strap, he reached down and picked me out of the group. Later, as we gathered, I stood tall despite my age among my peers. I still have the chin strap, along with one of the fondest memories of my youth.
COINCIDENTAL KUHARICH CONNECTION
On November 25, 2008, Timmy attended the football game between Ball State University and Western Michigan. Before the game, Timmy visited the weightlifting facilities next to the stadium. As he was walking toward the exit, Joe Kuharich’s son Bill, who was a scout and player personnel head with the Kansas City Chiefs noticed him and yelled out at Timmy. The two had a brief, but amicable exchange talking about old times and about what each had been doing.
JIM DAVIS STORY
On Dec. 15, 2022, Jim Davis, a Ball State alum best known as the creator of Garfield, one of the world’s largest syndicated comics, shared the following story of an evening with Timmy Brown and Jim Todd.
Davis first met Todd in high school where he played for Fairmont High School and Todd played for White’s Institute. He recalled, “Jim was running an end around and I was unfortunate enough to think that I could bring him down. I regained consciousness about five yards in the end zone.”
At Ball State Davis and Todd were buddies in Blue Key Honor Society, which recognized students at Ball State for “all-around leadership and integrity in student life, high scholastic achievement, and service to others.” Like Timmy Brown, Todd was an exceptional football player who played one year in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.
“After I got out of Ball State, around 1968,” Davis remembered, “Jim said that he’d be back in town and invited me for drinks at the Roberts Hotel in downtown Muncie. As it turns out, he was with Timmy. We had a great evening. Timmy was thoroughly delightful.
Sometime after 1:00 a.m., the bartender announced the last call. Timmy stood up, looked around the bar, and said to the bartender, ‘I don’t see anyone here big enough to close this bar.’ We stayed for another couple of hours!”
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Paul Davis, who knew Timmy Brown as a child in Richmond; later roomed with him for a short time when the two were students at Ball State; and saw him play in pro football, confirmed the following reflection in a July 15, 2023, email:
Once he and Harold Jones – another Richmond acquaintance who was friends with Timmy as well and was a noted jazz percussionist who played with Count Basie and Tony Bennett – had read the book, they talked about it. Jones asked: “Who’s this Paul Davis?” In the book, the name Paul Davis appears whenever he is mentioned. However, Paul has pointed out that during his childhood his family called him “Curtie.” Some of his friends also called him “Curtie,” while others called him “Curtis” or “Curt.” In professional settings, such as in his educational career, he was always “Paul Davis.” When he served in the military, he was “Paul C. Davis.” This fact is shared to clarify the name people who associated with Paul used throughout his life.
WORKING WITH A CLASSMATE
On September 22, 2023, Larry Campbell – not to be confused with the Larry Campbell that appears in the book with his brothers Dean, Rex, and Wayne who were friends with Timmy – talked about working with Timmy in the summer of 1957.
Larry, who graduated in 1958, left with an industrial technology and science degree. He was also in Air Force ROTC during his freshmen and sophomore years. He was active in the Lambda Chi fraternity but didn’t live in the fraternity house. He lived at home in Woodland Park, just west of Selma on Highway 32.
In the summer of 1957, Larry worked for an uncle who ran a plumbing, heating, and construction company. Timmy worked with him, cleaning the floors and vacuuming carpets once the houses were finished so that people could move in. He knew that Timmy was an entertainer, but never heard him sing on the job. “He may have been,” Larry said, “But I was banging around on things and he was running the vacuum cleaner.”
They worked on three or four houses that summer, Larry recalled. At lunch, they talked. Sometimes they brought their lunch. On a few occasions, they picked up a quick meal from a fast-food restaurant, like Mcdonald’s, and took it back to the workplace. “Tim was soft-spoken and didn’t talk a lot,” Larry remembered. “But, I didn’t talk a lot either.”
Larry watched Timmy play football and recalled his quickness as a running back and the fact that he also kicked field goals. “I never saw him before or after the football games,” he said.