Central 1939 John Bernard Brehmer
Oct. 26, 1921 - Aug. 7, 2016
SOUTH BEND - John Bernard “Jack” Brehmer died after a short illness in Oklahoma City on Aug. 7th. He was 94.
Brehmer was born Oct. 26, 1921, in South Bend, Ind., to Bernard Joseph Brehmer and Ethel Marie Phelan Brehmer. He had one brother, Walt Brehmer, and one sister, Patricia Brehmer Bolka. In 1956 he married Marilyn Jane Sunderlin. Jack said, when he was standing at the altar waiting for Marilyn, he turned to see her ready to come down the aisle. “She took my breath away. She was incredibly beautiful. She looked like an angel.”
Brehmer grew up in South Bend at the intersection of Notre Dame Ave. and South Bend Ave. He attended St. Joseph Elementary School and Central High School. He had the privilege of taking his freshman English course under legendary UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden, who had just graduated from Purdue.
He attended the University of Notre Dame and received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in the spring of 1943. Upon graduation, he went to work for General Electric Co. in Rochester, NY. In December 1943, Jack enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served as a Lieutenant on the USS Botetourt in the South Pacific. Aboard the Botetourt, Jack was in Tokyo Harbor at the time of the signing of the surrender documents by Japan. Following his service in WW II, he returned to South Bend where he owned the South Bend Foundry and later Brehmer Electric.
A lifelong resident of South Bend, Notre Dame was truly a part of Jack's being. He was a Notre Dame season ticket holder for football, hockey, lacrosse, basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball and women's soccer. To help promote the men's hockey program to NCAA status, Jack and Marilyn founded the Notre Dame Hockey Blueline Club. While he loved all the teams, later in life it was the women's soccer team that brought him the most joy. Following their 2010 NCAA National Championship win, he was one of two non-players honored by the team.
Brehmer served on many nonprofit boards, including President of both Goodwill Industries and Junior Achievement. Friends and family remember his kindness, spirit and generosity as being some of his most important attributes. Additionally, he was an accomplished artist in both sculpture and watercolors.
Brehmer was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Marilyn, oldest daughter, Kim Brehmer, and his brother and sister, Walt and Pat.
He is survived by his daughter, Marnie Brehmer Taylor, and her husband Clayton of Oklahoma City; son, John Brehmer, Jr., of Denver, Colo.; and daughter, Marilyn Brehmer Dolle and her husband Chris of Cincinnati, Ohio. Seven grandchildren, Clay Taylor and his wife Becky of Oklahoma City, Clark Taylor of Crested Butte, Colo., Elise Dolle of Chicago, Christopher Dolle of Chicago, Jack Brehmer of Denver, Jake Brehmer of Denver, and Tara Devine of South Bend. He also has two great-grandchildren, Jacob and Emma, both of South Bend.
A Burial Service will be held Friday, October 14th, 6:00 p.m. at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Notre Dame, Indiana. Early arrival suggested to secure parking. A Memorial Service was held earlier in Oklahoma City.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent in his memory to the University of Notre Dame Women's Soccer Program in care of Betsy Killilea at 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, or online at supporting.nd.edu.
Published in South Bend Tribune on Oct. 9, 2016