Thomas Joseph Brennan, 88, surrounded by family and friends, passed away after a period of declining health, on December 30th, 2012, in Charlotte, NC. Tom was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on June 20, 1924, the son of James J. and Nora Brennan.
Tom was an honor student and athlete at Haverford High School in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and graduated in 1943. After graduation, Tom attended Rider College in New Jersey, where he lettered in basketball, football and golf and gained many life long friendships. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and graduated in 1949.
Tom Brennan proudly served his country during World War II as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army's 41st Infantry Division. During his service, he was bestowed commendation of The Purple Heart and The Bronze Star Award under U.S. General Omar Bradley.
After the war, Tom married his first love and high school sweetheart, Mary Louise Wertzberger on April 22, 1950, and the couple resided in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Houston, Texas and then settled in Charlotte, NC, where they lived most of their lives. Tom and Mary raised eight wonderful children; five sons: Thomas Jr., Barry, Kevin, Tim and Terry, and three lovely daughters: Mary Louise, Colleen and Patricia.
After college, he began a sales management career in the steel industry, primarily with Armco Steel, that spanned an impressive 50 years.
Tom's dedication and generosity throughout his life did not go unrecognized. In 1980, Tom and Mary Brennan were deeply honored to receive Honorary Doctorates of Law Degree (L.L.D.) from Belmont Abbey College. They were recognized at the school's commencement address that year by Belmont administrators in accordance with the theme: "The American Family: in the Year of the Family."
As a devout Catholic his entire life, Tom remained active in the Church and was a parishioner of St. Peter's Catholic Church. He was proud to be a life long member of the Knights of Columbus Council 770 in Charlotte. In the spirit of giving, Tom was credited with developing the Knights of Columbus Charity Horse Show, which was a long-standing tradition in Charlotte, its proceeds given to local area families and charitable organizations in need.
As a licensed Steward for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and The Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI) for 35 years, Tom was a respected official at hundreds of world-class equestrian events all over the country. He served a term as head of the licensed officials for the USEF, and was honored to be the recipient of "The Sallie Busch Wheeler Memorial Sportsmanship Trophy" in 2010 at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.
Tom was proud to be able to live his passion for basketball as the head basketball coach for Charlotte Catholic High School for many, many years. He was deeply honored in the last year of his life, to be inducted into the Charlotte Catholic High School Hall of Fame. His love for basketball spanned the years, and he deeply cherished the lifelong friendships he had with former players and students.
Tom will be remembered for his sense of humor, his love of storytelling and his tremendous faith in God. There wasn't a stranger he wouldn't befriend, or a trip to Ireland he didn't cherish. He was a loving husband and father, who adored his grandchildren and great- grandchildren. Above all else, he treasured family and friends, and went out of his way to lend a hand to those in need.
He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Mary Louise, whom he lost too soon; brother, Charles Brennan; and parents, James and Nora Brennan.
Tom is survived by his wife, Lynn Purdie Brennan, whom he married in 1991. Tom and Mary leave behind eight children: Thomas Jr. (Barbara) of Hendersonville, Tennessee, Barry (Jane) of Littleton, Colorado, Mary Louise (Ben Choate) of Heath Springs, South Carolina, Colleen Ross of Charlotte, North Carolina, Kevin (Ashley) of Greenville, South Carolina, Patricia (Paul Coughlin) of Charlotte, North Carolina, Tim (Zoe) of Charlotte, North Carolina and Terry (Katie) of Charlotte, North Carolina. He was the proud grandfather of sixteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren: Sean Ross, Brady Ross, Brennan Choate, Kennedy Snyder, Amelia Snyder, Beckett Brennan, Conor Brennan, Rhys Brennan, Cameron Coughlin, Kristen Coughlin, Conor Coughlin, Lynne Bevins, Parker Bevins, Pryce Bevins, Meredith Bevins, Murphy Brennan, Mary McGuire Brennan, Patrick Brennan, Thomas Brennan, Jody Lavender, Megan Lavender, and Samantha Lavender.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at St. Peter's Church at 507 South Tryon Street in Charlotte, NC. Tom will be interred immediately following at Belmont Abbey at 100 Belmont-Mt Holly Road in Belmont, North Carolina.
Gifts in Tom's memory may be made to the The Friedland Foundation c/o The Foundation For The Carolinas, 220 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28202.
Condolences may be offered at www.HarryandBryantFuneralHome.com.