John “Jack” Brest, 81

BrestJohn “Jack” Brest, 81, of Fountain Ave., Ellwood City passed away Monday, June 15, 2015 at the Ellwood City Hospital following an illness.

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..

9 thoughts on “John “Jack” Brest, 81

  1. Ginny, Terri, Tracey and families – You have my deepest sympathy on the passing of Jack. I know how much he meant to you all and to the Ellwood City community. I hope you find comfort in your memories, remember to laugh as you cry. ~ Michelle

  2. Our sincere condolences to you, Ginny, and your family. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Mary Lou Flecher

  3. Dearest Ginny, Todd, Terri, Tracy, Tommy and family, I want you all to know how truly sorry I am for your loss. He was a tremendous force in the family, a loving man. It’s been a tough month. I can’t help to think of Grma and Grpa how happy they must be to have both of their sons with them now. May your love for one another and from others give you strength during this difficult time. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Valerie

  4. Ginny and families, u r all in my thoughts and prayers. Jack in his time in Ellwood city was icon. Jack and Dad took care of every1. They worked on many dangerous electrical fire , 2gether. they
    protected us, Jack was the last part of my dad. but their together up there have the times of their lives. We have lost a wonderful,person. I’m blessed 2 have had him in r lives he was a quality person. Jack has left his family and the community so many memories as long as u remember 2 laugh and cry God bless and i love u all!

  5. Ginny, I am so sorry to hear of Jacks passing. He was a leader and a friend of the outlying VFDs. He will be missed by all who knew him. God bless you and yours. Don Anderson

  6. Ginny, Terri, Tracey, Todd, Tom
    My deepest sympathy to you and your families. I am so sorry for your loss. He was a very nice man. Your all in my prayers and thoughts. God Bless you all. Lorrie and Fred Hess and family

  7. Ginny,My deepest sympathies go out to You and Your family. May God give You the comfort and peace that You seek and may the soul of your loved one rest in peace.

  8. Bill and I would like to extend our deepest sympathy in the lost of John.
    I was born in the project where Chuck and Flo lived with their family.
    My brother Jimmy (having passed away in February 2012 in Mesa, AZ) played with Johnny until we moved to the farm in Portersville.
    I stayed in contact with Flo and Chuck until their passing. My Dad (Jim Hughes) passed away in 2007 and Mom (Mildred aka Pat) passed away in 2007.
    I was sadden to read about John’s passing.
    We will be married 50 years this coming New Years Eve.
    The last picture shows Mom, in the middle, for her 90th birthday (she passed at the age of 98) Left side is myself and behind me is my husband Bill and on the right side is Jimmy and his wife Suejane behind him.
    It’s a shame I didn’t stay in contact with Johnny. While in Ellwood City about 20 years ago, I stopped by the fire station to see Chuck and that’s when I found out the John was the Chief.
    With our deepest sympathy and Love, Marilyn Hughes West

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