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BREHER, WILLIAM R. Nov.10, 1922 to Jan. 17, 2013 William Russell Breher, 90, died peacefully at home with Hospice care on January 17, 2013. Bill was born on November 10, 1922 in Battle Creek, MI and graduated from Battle Creek High School at age 15. His first jobs were at the competing cereal companies Post and Kellogg's; he would finish his shift at Post, then walk across the street to Kellogg to work the next shift there. His work helped support his family and build opportunity to get off the farm. He joined the army and served in World War II as a Staff Sergeant, leader of a weapons platoon, 97th Infantry Division, 386 Infantry Regiment, F Company in Europe. He also served in the Occupation Army in Irumagawa, Japan. He served with many fine men and met his dear, lifelong friend, Albert Miglio. Bill took advantage of the G.I. bill and earned his BS from Michigan Sate University and MA in economics from the University of Wisconsin. Bill and Thomasine "Tot" Neering married in 1959 in Bay City, Michigan and had four children: Joseph Michael Breher, Nathan Robert Breher, Kate Marie De Jong, and David William Breher. Bill felt fulfilled in his work and family life when he was making sure his family and the people he served were provided for and safe. He started his career with the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, DC. Subsequently, he worked at Ford Motor Company in Employee Benefits. During that time he spent two and a half years with Ford do Brasil in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This transfer opened up cherished connections with American expat and Brazilian friends; in fact, the Guilger family, Antonia, Rosa, Sonia, Jose Eduardo, and Lucia, became his "'Familia Brasileira." He then spent 18 years as the Executive Director of MESSA - the insurance arm of the Michigan Education Association in East Lansing, Michigan. During his time at the MEA, he built a teacher insurance program, recognized as one of the best in the country. At that time he added another "son" to the family, Eberhard Morgenroth, a German student who came in 1983 to study in the United Sates. The past 23 years, Bill and Tot have been living the retired life in San Diego, CA. He spent these years pursuing his interests: following his investments and national politics, rooting for the MSU Spartans, and enjoying his grandkids. He was known to say each Friday afternoon of retirement, "Thank God it's the weekend! We don't have to go to work tomorrow." He was a member of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, Big Brothers of Detroit, and the Kensington Optimist Club of San Diego. Bill is survived by his wife, Thomasine; his children Joe (Joan) Breher, Nate Breher, Kate (Dan) De Jong, and David (Marty Dempster) Breher; his sister Dorothea McSherry and brother Theodore Breher; his grandchildren Rhiannon Smith, Rob Ross, Brandon Breher, Russell De Jong, and Frank De Jong; his great-grandchildren Jasmine and Danika; and many nieces and nephews. Especially close to him were nephew Thomas McSherry and niece Timary McSherry Bonaccorso. He was preceded in death by his brother Robert Breher, his mother Lucille Clara (Hager) Breher and father Aaron Leonard Breher. Bill's family would like to express thanks to San Diego Hospice and the team of caregivers who helped make his last days calm and peaceful. In lieu of flowers, donations to San Diego Hospice (www.sdhospice.org) or Honor Flight San Diego (www.HonorFlightSanDiego .org) would be appreciated. A memorial service will be held on March 8th, with a Mass at 9:30 at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, 1668 State St., San Diego, Ca, followed by interment at 11:30 with Honor Guard at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, followed by a reception at 12:30 at Marina Park Condominium, 750 State St.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Jan. 23, 2013
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