Virgil Oliver Brecht, 94, of Quincy, formerly of Fowler, died at 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, April 4, 2018, at Good Samaritan Home, Quincy. He struggled with the debilitating effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s for the past few years.
As a boy, Virgil assisted his father in running the family hardware store, mostly as “errand boy.” Sorting and selling “penny” nails out of wooden kegs was a prominent memory.
In 1943, Virgil entered the Navy’s V12 Engineering program at the University of Illinois and graduated with a BS degree in chemistry prior to active duty with the Navy. He also attended Harvard Business School and Columbia University as part of his naval training. As a commissioned officer in 1945, he served as paymaster/supply-and-disbursing officer on the destroyer, USS Jarvis, DD-799, in WWII and was en route to Japan to meet his ship when the war ended. He did not see combat but witnessed the devastation of the Japanese mainland while traveling on a solo cross-country train trip among hundreds of displaced Japanese in order to join his ship stationed in northern Japan. Upon returning to the US, he finished his tour of duty retro-fitting his ship during sea trials in Newport News until his honorable discharge with Lieutenant JG rank in 1946.
After the Navy, Virgil returned to Quincy where he pursued his professional career as a chemist working in the field of quality-control at various firms in Quincy including Moorman’s Manufacturing, Packaging Corporation of America, and Electric Wheel where he established a quality testing lab and played a key role in supporting production.
Alongside his professional career, Virgil’s passion was farming, especially fruit and vegetable farming in which he was mentored by his father-in-law Clarence Mohrman, a prominent local truck farmer in north Quincy. Virgil and Virginia (and their kids) tended many acres of asparagus, strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes, and other garden staples which they sold to local markets and a long list of neighbors, friends, and regular customers each spring and summer. Virgil also raised livestock-hogs, cattle, and sheep-and managed farms in Quincy, the Mendon/Fowler area, and the Ursa/Bear Creek bottoms.
Virgil and Virginia enjoyed summer vacations, traveling with the kids tucked in the back of a station wagon, throughout the West and especially the mountains of Colorado. In 1948, before children, they toured the West and West Coast in a Model A Ford. During that trip they intended to hop a freighter to Tahiti but missed the boat in San Francisco. Years later, they finally made it to Tahiti for their 40th anniversary.
Virgil was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Virginia, in 2011 and is survived by his three children, son Mark Brecht of Imperial Beach, CA, daughter and son-in-law Marcheta Brecht and Greg Nixon of Fayetteville, NC, and son and daughter-in-law Timothy and Donna Brecht of Fowler, IL; seven grandchildren, Alexandra McNay Marold (husband David), Heather, Michael, Matthew, Hannah, Holly, and Mitchell Brecht; two great-grandchildren, Leo And Max Marold; nephew Dale Brecht (wife Penny); brother-in-law Roger Mohrman (wife Margie); and many other nieces and nephews.
Special thanks are given to Virgil’s daughter-in-law, Donna Brecht, for her special care and loving support in his final months.
Services: Monday, April 9, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at Hansen-Spear Funeral Home with Rev. Steve Disseler officiating.
Visitation: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 9, 2018 at Hansen-Spear Funeral Home.
Burial: Greenmount Cemetery
Memorials: Quincy Notre Dame High School or Alzheimer’s Assocation.
Hansen-Spear Funeral Directors are in charge of arrangements.