Sunday, July 26, 2009

Col. Albert J. Brey 2000

Col. Albert J. Brey
Died June 27, 2000
EMPIRE - A love for his faith, country and family was the passion which shaped the life of Colonel Albert J. Brey. A native of Caspian, Mich., Col. Brey lived in both Empire, Mich. and Port Richey, Fla. He also lived previously in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He died peacefully of cancer at the age of 83.

Col. Brey served in World War II during the European Campaign as commander of an Army Corps of Engineers engineer battalion. He was decorated with a Battle Star three times. He left the military in 1946 and opened a confectionery store with his wife and best friend, Bette Jo. "A.J. was a friend to all and a protector and provider," said Bette Jo.

In 1948, at the onset of the Korean conflict, he was recalled to active duty. Attached to the 1st U.S. Marines, he participated in the Inchon landing in September, 1950, and earned a U.S. Presidential Citation. Continuing to serve in Korea until 1953, he received numerous other decorations including the Bronze Star, two commemorative ribbons, the Korean Presidential Citation and six more Battle Stars.

After the Korean War, Col. Brey became a military attach at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France. An avid photographer, he was often praised for his vivid photographs of Paris at night. His military career continued at the Pentagon between 1958 and 1962 where he was Chief, Intelligence Branch Mapping Division, Office of the Chief of Engineers. Later, he was assigned to Iran where he oversaw the building of a small city for Iranian soldiers and their families.

After his return from Iran, Col. Brey was Professor of Military Science at the University of Detroit. He concluded his military career between 1969 and 1971 in Fort Lee, Va. at the U.S. Army Quartermaster Center and Fort Lee where he served as Director of Facilities Engineering. As a result of his service, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Throughout his life, Col. Brey was a devoted and practicing Catholic and served as an usher at St. Philip Neri in Empire, Mich. Friends may call from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 2, at the church, where a vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday, July 3, at the church.

Col. Brey is survived by his wife, Bette Jo; daughters, Ingrid K. Brey and Sonya Yvonne Stanz; one grandchild, Zachary Stanz; five sisters; and two brothers.

Memorial contributions may be made to the VFW Cherryland Post 2780 and the Hernando-Pasco Hospice in Pasco County, Fla. The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home in Traverse City.