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Donald E. “Don” Brening 1941 - 2023
Donald E. “Don” Brening

HUTCHINSON — Don passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on March 16, 2023, at Hester Care Center on the Wesley Towers Campus, Hutchinson, Kan.

Don was born March 28, 1941, to Ted and Dorothy (Brenner) Brening in LaCrosse, Kan., where he grew up. Don graduated from LaCrosse High School in 1959. He attended Fort Hays State University prior to employment with Kansas Power and Light from 1961-1965.

He married his high school sweetheart, Mary Catherine Herrman, on Sept. 4, 1961, in LaCrosse, Kan. They were blessed with 61 years of marriage. They had three children, Kimberly, Kevin and Kelli. The couple raised their family in LaCrosse. In 1993, Don and Catherine moved to Great Bend due to Don’s employment. 

Even with a busy schedule, Don attended all of his children’s sporting events. He enjoyed cheering them on and supporting them in every sport or activity they were involved in. This commitment carried over to the grandchildren’s activities. He was a very dedicated and loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

Don acquired his insurance license and was employed as an agent for State Farm Insurance Co. from 1965-1969, where he received numerous awards for sales. He was then hired by the Home State Bank in LaCrosse as an insurance agent before he transitioned into banking. He thoroughly enjoyed his 43 year career in banking.    

In 1973, Don and his wife Catherine purchased controlling interest of the Home State Bank and he was named President and CEO, a title he held until 1986. At that time, the bank was acquired by Farmers Bank and Trust of Great Bend. Don stayed on as branch Manager, in LaCrosse, until 1993, when he was appointed a position as a Bank Officer in the Great Bend branch of Farmers Bank and Trust. There, he completed his career and retired in December of 2009. Don enjoyed his many years in banking, especially the friendships he made over the years, both with his peers and his customers.  

Don was a dedicated member of the Boy Scout’s and he achieved Eagle Scout status at age 17.

In 1974, he began attending the Colorado School of Banking at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he received his degree in 1976.  

Don was a member of St. Michael’s Church where he also served as a board member. He belonged to the LaCrosse Lions Club, LaCrosse Chamber of Commerce, and LaCrosse Jaycees. He served as a member of the School Board of USD 395 for many years, as well as Rush County Industrial and Economic Development. Don also held a position on the Board of Directors for Young Bank Officers of Kansas.

Don and his wife spent countless hours on various golf courses around the country. They shared many excursions and travel adventures with their children, boating, water skiing, and snow skiing  in the Rockies. The couple did extensive traveling, including to several European countries with Austria being a favorite destination, as their eldest daughter and two grandchildren are permanent residents in Vienna.

Following his retirement, Don and his wife, Catherine, moved to Hutchinson, Kan., to be closer to three of their grandchildren where they could be a part of their active lives.  

Don is preceded in death by his parents and an infant grandson.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Catherine Brening, Hutchinson, Kan; his children, Kimberly Brening Solomon, Vienna, Austria; Kevin (Pat) Brening, Hutchinson, Kan.; and Kelli (Brent) Hirneisen, Frisco, Texas; his grandchildren, Jerod (Laura) Solomon, Vallejo, Calif,; Jessica (Kyle) Martindale, Oak Park, Calif.; Julia (Ryan) Walton, Cottonwood Heights, Utah; Caleb (Tiara) Brening, Fayetteville Ark.; Konner (Spencer) Truman, Overland Park, Kan.; Kyndal Brening, Roseville, Minn., Nikola and Adrianna Negovanovic, Vienna, Austria; Jaden Hirneisen, Frisco, Texas; and his great-grandchildren Myla and Margo Martindale, Juniper Solomon, and Parker Walton who will be born in June; and numerous cousins.

The family would like to extend their deep gratitude to those who cared for Don at Hester Care Center, Wesley Towers, Hutchinson, Kan. since September, 1922.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials to Hospice & Homecare of Reno County or Alzheimer’s Disease Research in care of Elliott Mortuary, 1219 N. Main, Hutchinson, KS 67501 or Janousek Funeral Home, 719 Pine St., P.O. Box 550, LaCrosse, KS 67548. 

Don’s Celebration of Life memorial service will take place in LaCrosse, Kan., on April 8, 2023 at 3 p.m. at Janousek Funeral Home,719 Pine St., LaCrosse, KS. Friends may sign the book from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, March 27th through Saturday, April 1st at Elliott Mortuary, Hutchinson. 

Funeral arrangements provided by

Elliott Mortuary & Crematory

1219 N. Main 

Hutchinson, KS 67501

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, March 26, 2023