LARNED — Dr. William Rush Brenner, MD, 98, passed away July 19 at Pawnee Valley Community Hospital in Larned. He was born May 22, 1915, in McCracken, the son of William Albert and Rose Sweeney Brenner of Bazine.
He was born and raised in Rush County. He attended Creighton University Medical School where he received his MD degree in 1939. Following his Residency he was commissioned in the U.S. Army Corps as a Flight Surgeon in 1940; and following training, was assigned to the 35th Pursuit Group which was stationed in the Philippines at the time of the war outbreak in December of 1941. Bill was captured by the Japanese in April, 1942, and after surviving the Bataan Death March, remained a prisoner of war in the Philippines and Japan until liberated by U.S. forces in 1945. He was promoted to the rank of Major and was awarded the Bronze Star medal for heroic actions performed while a POW. His wife Josephine and their son remained in the San Francisco area throughout the war. Their family story during the war is chronicled in the book by Linda McCaffery entitled, “I’m Praying Very Hard for You.”
Bill and Jo took up residence in Larned following the end of the war and his subsequent repatriation. There he practiced family medicine and general surgery for the next 30 years. During that time, they raised six children and became mainstays of the community. Following retirement from the medical profession in 1978, he served on the Larned City Council for 10 years and as mayor of Larned for six years. He belonged to various professional societies and civic organizations throughout his lifetime including the American Medical Association, Kansas Medical Society, Pawnee County Medical Society, and was a Fellow in the College of General Practice. He was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Commander of the Western Kansas chapter of the American EX-POWs. In retirement, he remained very active in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the local community. Until he passed away, Bill was the National Physician for the Ex-Prisoners of Bataan and Corregidor.
He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Mary Josephine McGowan; a son, Stephen James; two brothers, Leo and Edward; and one sister, Irene Antenen. Bill and Jo’s surviving children are William Rush Brenner Jr. of Williamsburg, Va., Robert John Brenner of Wichita, Barbara Ellen Polston of Kansas City, Mo., Anne Margaret Armstrong of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Katherine Josephine Brenner of Eugene, Ore. He also has 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his second wife, Carlotta Chacon; and two brothers, Ben Brenner of Beeler, and Harold Brenner of Midland, Texas; and one sister, Mildred Kuhlman of Oakley.
Vigil Service will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Beckwith Mortuary Chapel. Funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Larned with Father Warren Stecklein presiding. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mortuary. Burial will be in the Larned Cemetery with military graveside rites.
Memorials may be given to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in care of the Beckwith Mortuary. Personal condolences may be left at www.beckwithmortuary.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
P.O. Box 477; 916 Main St.
Larned, KS 67550.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, July 21, 2013