Francis Brenner

Click to Enlarge Photo
Click to Enlarge Photo
October 6th, 1927 - March 5th, 2023

From: Thayer, MO
Funeral: 2pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Thayer Cemetery - Thayer, MO
Burial: Thayer Cemetery - Thayer, MO

Francis Brenner departed this world on March 5, 2023, concluding a vibrant life. He was 95 years old. Francis was born to Ferdinand & Mary Leu Brenner on October 6, 1927 on the Brenner farm in Thayer, MO.

Francis grew up on the farm, where the family lived in a Sears, Roebuck & Co. kit house and raised dairy cattle, chickens, sheep, work horses, and grain to feed the livestock. Francis attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse in the Clifton community near Thayer, walking to and from school every day. He later attended Thayer High School, graduating in 1945. In January 1946, Francis was drafted into the Army to serve in World War II. Because of his experience driving and repairing tractors on the farm, Francis was assigned the military occupation of construction equipment mechanic. He attended basic training at Camp Campbell in Kentucky. Upon completion, he boarded a train to Washington State to await shipping out to the Pacific theater. Francis and the men in his unit readied themselves for orders every morning for two weeks before finally receiving word that the war had ended. Shortly after returning to Thayer, Francis met a soft spoken, southern young lady named Louise Wilson, who had recently moved with her family to Thayer from Mississippi. Francis and Louise were married in an intimate ceremony in Salem, AR on January 14, 1949. Their union was blessed by two daughters. They celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary in 2023.

Francis spent his entire career working at the garment factory in Thayer. A self-taught machinist, he kept the sewing machines running by performing maintenance and designing specialized, custom footings and attachments to accommodate the new styles and fabrics used as fashions evolved. His workday at the garment factory would end at 3pm when Francis would clock out and drive to the farm to care for the cattle, returning home in the evenings for dinner with his family. After retiring in 1988, Francis farmed full-time for the rest of his life. The Brenner farm was honored as a Missouri Century Farm in 2021 as a direct result of Francis’ hard work and dedication for so many years. Francis’ grandson, Luke Fraley, still tends the land and the beef cattle today. Up until his passing, Francis would speak to Luke daily to check on how the farm was doing.

Francis had many hobbies. He enjoyed watching all kinds of sports—especially the Kansas City Chiefs football team. He loved animals and could often be found with a cat on his lap or feeding his farm dog bits of his own lunch. Francis loved people, too. He liked to socialize with friends and particularly enjoyed a pot-luck dinner. A life-long farmer, Francis engaged in traditional agricultural activities including driving a mule team and growing sorghum for molasses. Francis had an uncanny ability to find amusement and enjoyment in life. He was interested in so many things. His gentle nature and kind spirit will be deeply missed by his loved ones.

Francis is survived by his wife Louise, daughters Nancy Hubach and Dana Fraley, son-in-law Wesley Hubach, grandson Jonathan Hubach and wife Sarah, grandson Luke Fraley, granddaughter Dasha Russell and husband Allen, great-grandchildren Max and Somi Russell, and sister-in-law Barbara Wallace.

He is preceded in death by his parents Ferdinand and Mary, sister Johanna Brenner, brother Eugene “Gene” Blankenship, sister-in-law Betty Blankenship, parents-in-law Walton and Lillian Wilson, and brothers-in-law Horace Wilson, Fred Wilson, and Tom Wallace.

Graveside services will be 2pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at Thayer Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Thayer Fun & Friends Senior Center, which was co-founded in 1977 by Francis’ father-in-law Walton Wilson. The mailing address for Thayer Fun & Friends Senior Center is 100 Chestnut St, Thayer, MO 65791.

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