It didn't take long after Ed Brinkman's retirement in 1983 for him to launch another career.
Mr. Brinkman, whose volunteer efforts ranged from an assistant investigator for the city of Cincinnati to publicity for the Cincinnati Zoo, died of natural causes Feb. 12 at Lebanon Country Manor in Lebanon. He was 89.
"His real work started when he retired," said his daughter-in-law Cheri Brinkman of Lebanon. "That's what was so special about Dad. He really understood that people have to pitch in and do these things. This was practically a second career for him. He didn't want to be sitting in a chair looking out the window."
Mr. Brinkman worked at Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. for nearly four decades before retiring in 1983. He quickly turned to volunteering, including time with the city's Office of Municipal Investigation, earning a service award in 1991.
He also worked in the office of then-Mayor Arn Bortz, the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Opera.
He had an avid interest in history and government, serving as a member of both the Cincinnati Historical Society and the Miami Purchase Association for Historical Preservation.
Opera Chief Executive Officer Patty Beggs said Mr. Brinkman was more than an average volunteer.
"Ed was incredibly well-read, whip-smart, elegant, witty and so competent," she said. "I would have just loved to have hired him full time. But he made a second career out of being a professional volunteer."
Mr. Brinkman was born June 18, 1921, in Covington. After graduating from Holmes High School, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war he returned to Cincinnati and worked in CG&E's electric distribution unit.
Mr. Brinkman lived on the west side of Cincinnati, most recently in Green Township.
"This was not a wealthy man," Cheri Brinkman said. "He was an average guy, but he had a great love for Cincinnati."
Other survivors include his son, Edward Brinkman of Lebanon; a daughter Rebecca Brinkman of Atlanta; and one granddaughter.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Rose Marie Retzler, and his second wife, Lois Schubel Smith.
Services have been held.
Memorials Cincinnati Opera, 1243 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.
Published by The Cincinnati Enquirer from Mar. 5 to May 4, 2011.