George Calvin Brinker, age 97, formally of Luckey, OH passed peacefully from this earthly life on April 14, 2021 in Sun City Center, FL where he and his devoted wife Donna had enjoined an active retirement and celebration of 70 years in marriage.
A WWII veteran, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, he was truly one of The Greatest Generation. Having his complete faculties to the end, his advice to future generations was “Do good. And be nice to people.” Indeed that was the example throughout his life of hard work, family loyalty, and community service. And whether working or playing, George was just naturally engaging, fun, and kind-hearted.
He is predeceased by his wife Donna, his brother Robert Brinker, sister Marie Fredrich.
He is survived by his immediate family of daughter Diane M. Brinker McQuaid and husband James of Chatham MA, and her daughter Joanna Brinker Pennock of Edwards CO; son David G. Brinker and wife Leslie of Metamora IL, and their 4 sons – Brian Brinker (wife Meghan and children Jacob, Ella, Olivia) of Glen Carbon IL, Clayton Brinker (wife Renee and children Hadley, Graham, Brooklyn) of Oak Ridge NC, Spencer Brinker of New Haven CT, and Mason Brinker of Clawson MI; along with the families of many nieces and nephews.
George was born to Martin and Dora Brinker at their Lemoyne Rd. farm on Oct 29, 1923. He attended Troy Township school in Luckey, class president his Soph and Junior years. An education interrupted by his mother’s death, he finished school by attending the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) in Marion OH where skills learned there would eventually serve to start his business.
But first, at age 19 and the outbreak of WWII he enlisted in the Army, serving in the 992 Treadway Bridge Co (now Army Corp of Engineers,) in building pontoon bridges ahead of tank arrivals. He was wounded at St. Lo earning a Purple Heart (shrapnel in his breastbone forever). After recovering in England, he went back to serving in Belgium and Germany, earning a Bronze Star for Bravery – operating a crane while rebuilding a bridge under fire.
This faithful service was to become a life long history of “building bridges” literally and figuratively. After the war, he was very first in line (front page Toledo Blade) to buy 2 Army ‘ducks’ being auctioned by the military. Thus started a tiling and excavation business serving Wood Co. and much of northwest Ohio, eventually designing, building, and patenting a Greek-style hinged bridge. He wanted to be building a bridge for farmers strong enough it would “last forever;” that Brinker Bridge can often be spotted on rural roads today.
George married Donna Lou Rollins in 1949, settled in Luckey raising 2 children. George continued to be ‘a bridge builder’ in the community as he served on the Building Committee for Post 240 Legion Hall (a proud member for 75 years), on Luckey Town Council, and Cub Scout Pack Leader; while also very active in formation of the consolidated school district that would become Eastwood.
He served on Eastwood School Board, was eventual President, breaking ground on both the High School and Middle School buildings during his tenure. George served as Troy Township Trustee and facilitated building of their new fire station donating the excavation.
A founding member of Luckey Kiwanis (member for 50 yrs), he helped start up the Luckey Fall Festival - which he absolutely loved working at, and attending even from FL. He remained a member of Zion Lutheran Church, where in the 1950’s he excavated and blasted for building the new church, often heard saying, “there’s a lotta Rock under that foundation!”
Being outdoors was always a passion, if just to sit in the sun. Enjoying time with family and friends included golfing - loved opening of Tanglewood, playing Bridge (affectionately nicknamed Mr. no trump, a suit he most often bid and won), mushroom hunting in Spring, and dancing always - famous for his waltzing and loved polka music!
Even from his wheelchair these last years he regularly attempted to get up and dance with his daughter’s help. We all loved when he’d pick up his concertina and play a happy jig.
At age 89 George was urged to accept an Honor Flight to DC. With son David he toured the Capitol and War Memorials, saying so many of his friends and classmates were involved in WWII that he considered his young service just to be a normal part of duty to one’s country. Today we know it as extraordinary.
For faithful service to others and loving support of family, all will miss very much, and remember fondly, a man who was kind, hard-working, fun-loving, loyal and fierce - simply a Good Human Being.
As per their wishes, George and his wife Donna will have their ashes buried together in Troy Township Cemetery, Luckey. A dual Memorial service and Burial with Military Honors will be announced for a future date in October 2021 when all the family can gather in Ohio.