Brendan Liddell

PEORIA - Brendan Edwin Alexander Liddell, 85, of Peoria died peacefully at noon on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, at his home following a brief, courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was born in Atlanta, Ga., on June 27, 1927, to Rose Annette Bindewald Liddell and Edwin Carey Liddell, the oldest of six children.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Ruthanne Arnold. He is also survived by five children, Bruce J. Liddell of Phelps, Wis., Rose Ann Liddell Kraft of Frederick, Md., Eric B. (Erin) Liddell of San Diego, Calif., Patrick A.A. Liddell of Oakland, Calif., and Lyz (Elizabeth R.A.) Liddell (Landon Winkler) of Columbus, Ohio; two siblings, Mary Jane Burnette of Knoxville, Tenn., and Ginny (Mendy) Fisher of Cincinnati, Ohio; former wife, Phyllis Fugle Liddell; four grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by one son, Guy Roderick Liddell in 1973; and three sisters.

He was known as "Brendan" to his immediate family and Peoria friends, "Alex" to his family of origin in the South, "Ed" to his Air Force buddies and "Dad" to his kids. His children were the love of his life.

He joined the Air Force in 1951 during the Korean War and talked his whole life about how much he enjoyed working as a fighter-interceptor pilot in the Pacific Northwest. He remained in the Air Force Reserve working in the Air Civil Defense in Peoria until he retired in 1987 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Brendan attended St. Bernard's High School in Cullman, Ala., and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Vincent's College and Seminary in Latrobe, Pa. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from University of Michigan after his active military service.

He taught at University of Oregon before moving to Peoria in 1964 to accept a faculty position at Bradley University. He taught philosophy, logic and ethics for 28 years at Bradley before retiring in 1992.

He served as president of the Faculty Senate for a number of years and on the Board of Trustees as well as a variety of committees.

In 1970, Brendan wrote a modern translation and commentary on the moral philosopher Kant's Foundation of Morality. He often welcomed foreign students into his home over holiday breaks and remained friends with several of them for many years.

Bradley honored him as Professor Emeritus.

After retirement, he studied liturgy and was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1995. He enjoyed his years of serving at St. Andrew the Apostle, Grace Church (Galesburg) and several other churches in the Diocese of Quincy. He later was assigned to St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral and appreciated the warm reception he received every week from the members of that parish. He enjoyed the opportunity there to give the sermon on the second Sunday of every month. One of his most enjoyable weekly duties over the years was to visit parishioners who were in nursing homes or hospitals, giving communion and visiting with those in need of spiritual comfort.

Brendan considered himself a humble and broken servant of God. He accepted help from the friends of Bill W. and, in turn, helped many people in the Peoria community to change and improve their lives using serenity, courage and wisdom, one day at a time, for quite a few 24 hours.

Brendan supported the arts, especially theater and opera. Because he was blessed with perfect pitch, he fully appreciated good music and often listened to symphonies or operas that boomed through the speakers he had wired throughout the house. He also loved attending operas at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago. He acted in community and university theater and met his wife during a Cornstock production of Kiss Me Kate in 1975. Two of his favorite roles were performed in Bradley's productions of The Andersonville Trial in 1973 and Waiting for Godot in 1983. Brendan enjoyed playing musical instruments all of his life - including the clarinet, recorder, piano, cello and even a ukulele.

During his early years in Peoria, he was an active member of the ACLU, serving as president during the late 1960s. He was a vocal protester during the Vietnam War.

He enjoyed a wide range of hobbies: rebinding old and battered volumes, working with oak and other beautiful woods to make solid bookcases and cabinets for his home and for his children, refinishing the rooms in his home one after another, photography and developing his own film in his basement darkroom and completing New York Times crossword puzzles. He was known by editors of the Peoria Journal Star as the "Chortling Avenger," taking delight in catching publishing errors. He was a trivia buff with knowledge ranging from history, especially the Civil War and World Wars, music, opera and movies to literature and the arts. He always enjoyed the monthly bout of Trivial Pursuit with his Bradley colleagues in his retirement years. He relished camping, canoeing, biking, swimming and walking the dog in his neighborhood.

Cremation has been accorded. A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral at 3601 N. North St., Peoria. Visitation will be at the Cathedral from 9 a.m. until time for the Mass. Burial will be in St. Paul's Cathedral following the service.

Memorials in his name may be contributed to Autism Speaks at 5545 Willshire Blvd., Suite 2250, Los Angeles, CA 90036, or through their website

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Published in Peoria Journal Star from Aug. 4 to Aug. 5, 2012