Edwin Bernard "Barney" Brogan was born on November 30, 1923 to Cornelius and Mae Brogan in the small rivertown of Murietta, Ohio. Lying between the land of intellectual gentlemen to the south and industrial fervor to the north, it formed in him a unique balance which he carried throughout his life. Barney attended Duke University where he was elected class president and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Economics in 1944. Aside from wonderful education it was also a place which sprouted his passion for Blue Devils basketball and singing. He would later help to found a popular male singing group called The Grunyons which performed and produced records for 50 years. With the will of younger members to carry on the spirit of Barney and the other founders, the group still performs today. After graduation from Duke, Barney went north where his fascination for the automotive industry blossomed. He rose to the head of marketing for American Motors. In 1970 he had the foresight to join Toyota, where he became responsible for Corporate and Public Affairs. Always the gentlemen and conversationalist, his personal skills helped him lobby in Washington and interface with celebrities. He was on the team which transformed Toyota into an American brand with jingles like "Oh, what a feeling! Toyota" or "Who can ask for anything more?". His job with Toyota brought him from the Midwest to the beaches of Los Angeles. Though he loved the bright atmosphere of California, he never lost his passion for automotive industry. Later in his career, Barney shared his experiences by teaching a class entitled "Japan's Success in the U.S." in the department of Business and Management at UCLA. After retirement he consulted for Toyota and through the LA Urban League to prepare students for a career in the Automotive Service Industry at the Automotive Training Center. Barney always felt an important part of his life was his church. He was a member of the Manhattan Beach Community Church in which he was a long standing member of the church choir. Aside from his work, Barney enjoyed flying and sailing, along with rooting for his Blue Devils. He also was actively involved with sports activities and education of his children. Barney was a loving and cherished husband, father and grandfather. His warmth, humor and conversation will be missed dearly. He is survived by his wife, LaVonda Lebowe Brogan, his sister, Betty Brogan and brother, Patrick Brogan. Barney's stepchildren include Gina Fontana, Kirk Lebowe, Linne' Hougan, Randy Cameron, Gregory Fontana, Robin Lebowe, Karen Fontana and Barbra Fontana. Barney's grandchildren include Ian Brown, Brittany Cameron, Colin Brown, Zachary Cameron, Ryan Lebowe, Nina Fontana, Lucas Horta, Xander Kane, Giovanni Horta and Eleanor Fontana. The memorial service will be held at Manhattan Beach Community Church on Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 11am. Lunch and reception will follow. Feel free to bring a happy memory of Barney you would like to share. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Manhattan Beach Community Church. Please use this website, www.LAfuneral.com to send the family messages, share memories, or to obtain directions to the services.

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  1. There are no words to express my feelings. My love and prayers are with each of you. Barney was a special friend and beloved by every member of my family.I can hear Jim and him singing Gilbert & Sullivan over my shoulder.

  2. Bonnie and family – my thoughts and prayers are with you. I will miss Barney terribly and his gentle nature and wonderful sense of humor. Hugs, Kathy

  3. Barney was always a fantastic conversationalist. He had an amazing gift to find interest in anyone and anything. I am proud to have had the chance to meet and know such a cool guy.

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