Born December 25, 1933 in New Castle, he was the son of the late Charles L.and Florence Miller Brest. He was married for 58 years to Mary Virginia “Ginny” Nagel Brest who survives.
Jack relocated to Ellwood City at the age of 9 and graduated from Lincoln High School with the class of 1951. He served in the US Navy from 1952 to 1956 and was honorably discharged with the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. While in the Navy, Jack attended fire schools in Long Beach California and received formal instructions on high and low pressure boilers. Following his discharge, he worked at US Steel for a few years. On April 18, 1960, Jack was hired as a paid fireman for the Ellwood City Fire Department. Between 1959 and 1974, Jack received 186 hours of schooling in a variety of fire fighting, arson detection and fire officership techniques and programs. He was a first aid instructor from 1966-1974 and completed 48 hours of training in emergency care and transportation of the sick and injured at Jameson Hospital in New Castle. He also attended Beaver County Community College and completed courses in fire service procedures and operations, fire prevention, and building codes and construction. In 1971, Jack was appointed Assistant Fire Chief and then in 1975 was officially named Fire Chief and served as such until his retirement in 1991. While serving as the Fire Chief, Jack was instrumental in implementing many training programs for the volunteer fireman. Under his guidance, the volunteers learned how to operate the fire equipment and drive the fire trucks so as to eliminate risks of accidents and to improve the efficiency of the department.
Prior to his retirement, Jack was a member of the Western PA Firemen Association and the National Fire Chiefs Association. Jack was affiliated with the Calvin Presbyterian Church. He was a former member of the Elks and Saxon Clubs in Ellwood City. He enjoyed reading, but his most cherished time was spent with family, especially his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
In addition to his wife, Ginny, survivors include two daughters, Terri L. Contreras, Tracey L. Hasan; two sons, Todd L. (Janet) Brest, Thomas L. (Beth) Brest, all of Ellwood City; eight grandchildren,Allison, Adriana, and Kyle Contreras, Amanda, Korrie, and Kasey Hasan, Ryan (Laurel) and Aaron Brest; and two great grandchildren, Jack and Jenna Brest.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, K. Graham Brest.
Visiting hours will be held on Thursday June 18 from 204 and 6-9 pm at the Marshall Funeral Home 200 Fountain Ave. Ellwood City. Members of the Ellwood City Fire Department will hold a service at 6:30 pm.
Funeral Services will be held at the funeral home on Friday at 11:00 am with Rev. Sean Brubaker officiating. Military rites will be conducted by the Veteran’s Honor Guard
Interment will follow in Castleview Memorial Park.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Ellwood City Volunteer Fire Department or the donor’s favorite charity..