Celebrating the life of Don H. Brennan
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Don Harold Brennan, age 80, of Peoria, passed away 5:27 PM on Monday, August 28, 2023 at his home with his family by his side.
Don was a loved and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great friend. Don had an amazing sense of adventure and enjoyed traveling the world with his family and friends.
Don was born on July 1, 1943 to Donald R. and Violet A. Brennan of Geneseo, IL. Surviving is his loving wife Mary, and their children Colleen (Tony) Cozzi of St. Charles, IL, Megan Brennan of Chicago, IL, Patrick (Kerry) Brennan of Denver, CO; and his sister Cheryl (George) Dunivant of Palm City, FL as well as his grandchildren Leo and Violet Cozzi, Charlie and Graham Hicks and Ophelia Brennan. He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Donna Mae (Leon) Tice and Sally (Rodney) Blodgett.
Don began his education in a one room rural school and graduated from Yates City High School in 1961. After working a year for IDOT, he attended the University of Illinois, earning a dual degree, a BA in Liberal Arts and Science and BS in Civil Engineering in 1967. He became a Registered Professional Engineer in 1972. He received a master’s degree in Industrial and Technical Education from Bradley University in 1971.
Don went to work in California for Bechtel Corp, a large international construction firm. He returned to Peoria in 1969 for a teaching position at Illinois Central College. In 1974, he and Mary joined the Peace Corps and served in the Dominican Republic. After returning to Peoria, Don went to work for V. Jobst and Sons Construction Company. In 1979, he started his own construction firm Brennan/Fox, later Brennan/Kempter and later he returned to work for V Jobst and Sons just prior to their ceasing operations.
In 1984 Don was one of the six individuals who founded River City Construction Company. Together they grew the company into a respected and successful major midwestern construction firm. It was during this time that he served as board member and president of Central Illinois Builders of AGC and the Greater Peoria Contractors Association. After 24 years with River City, Don retired at the end of 2008. After retirement he was elected to a 6-year term at Illinois Central College Board of Trustees and served as a Board Chair during his last year.
After retirement, Don and Mary traveled to over 70 different counties. At 65, he bungee jumped from the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand into the river 140 feet below. At 68, he and his son Patrick spent 7 days ascending 19,340 feet to the top peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. At 70, he once again bungee jumped in Africa, from the bridge 360 feet above the Zambia River at Victoria Falls. This past January, Don and Mary spent their 50th wedding anniversary in a tent in the Jordanian desert under the stars.
Throughout his life Don was an avid St. Louis Cardinal and Fighting Illini fan. He enjoyed hiking, golf, fishing and hunting for morels. He loved spending time with his golf buddies and taking fishing trips to Canada’s Lake Sabourin Lodge, which he did for an almost 40-year period. Some of his most cherished time was spent with his grandkids, especially teaching them how to fish.
Don survived stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 62, but passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Don lived an incredible and full life. Although not always a man of many words, we learned many valuable lessons from him including, the importance of patience, the value of hard work and respect, and to live life with optimism - he taught us to believe that everything would work out, especially with a little bit of Brennan luck.
Cremations rites have been accorded. A memorial visitation will be held at St. Thomas Catholic Church on Friday, September 8, 2023 from 3:00 PM until time of recitation of prayers at 6:00 PM. Msgr. Jason Gray will officiate. A celebration of life will be held at Mt. Hawley Country Club of Peoria on Saturday, September 9, 2023 between the hours of 2 PM and 5 PM.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Don’s memory may be made to the Illinois Central College Foundation for the Don H. Brennan Endowed Scholarship or toward pancreatic research through Projectpurple.org
Friends and family are encouraged to log onto www.wrightandsalmon.com to sign the online guestbook, submit photos and share Don’s memorial page via social media.
904 E Lake Ave
Peoria Heights, IL 61616
Celebration of Life
7724 N Knoxville
Peoria, IL 61615
ICC Foundation for the Don H. Brennan Endowment Scholarship
East Peoria, Il 61635