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Our History - Brennen Family Legacy Started by Respected War Veteran

Updated: Sep 9, 2021 August 19, 2021 @ 8:00 am

Jack Brennen

Jack Keefer Brennen had already had an interesting life, before coming to Stettler in 1927. He had been in the undertaking business in both Wetaskiwin and Calgary. He had been married once, but lost his first wife and child while in Wetaskiwin. In 1916, he would travel overseas to fight in the war as part of the Edmonton Highlanders.

Jack and his second wife, Emma, along with daughters Jeanette, and Erma came to Stettler around 1927 and bought the funeral parlour that was owned and operated by N.B. McGillivray. Shortly after arriving in Stettler, the Brennens would welcome John to their family.

J.K and his wife were active members of the Stettler community. He was a member of town Council for several terms ranging from approximately 1934-1946. His experience with refrigeration made him an important part of the hockey scene in Stettler, and he was in charge of the ice at the arena. J.K sat on the hospital board, which may have also been part of the reason a group of doctors approached him early on, and asked him to operate the ambulance services for the community. He sat on the United Church board, and was an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion, sitting as president for a number of terms. Mr. Brennen was also a member of the Masons and the IOOF.

Jack’s son John took over the family business in 1946. J.K passed away in October 1949 in the Stettler Municipal Hospital at the age of 66. Like his father, John was an active member of the community. He sat on town council for approximately 13 years, and held the office of mayor for 11 years.

Early burial service with Jack Brennen on the far left

A few years after taking over, Brennen would move the family business off main street to the former home of the local Baptist congregation. The baptists had already made several changes to the building originally constructed in 1907, and Brennen Funeral Home would make several more as well, including a multi-car garage.

The family business would be passed from John to his son John Jr. in 1993. John Jr. eventually sold the business and property to a Red Deer company around 1997. John Sr. passed away in December of 2003.

The Brennen Funeral home still stands on the corner of 11st and 49ave. It is one of the stopping points of the friends of the library Ghost Tour. There are also pews inside the building from it’s days as a community church.

Carson Ellis, Reporter & Local Historian at Our Town Stettler


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