Lifelong Brookfield resident and former village trustee Wilfred “Wil” Brennan died April 5 at his home in the Hollywood section of the village. He was 71 years old.
Born in 1942, Mr. Brennan graduated from St. Barbara School in Brookfield in 1955 and attended Riverside-Brookfield High School for three years. He graduated from Morton High School in 1959, the same year he joined the electrician’s union.
Mr. Brennan was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134 for more than 50 years. For many years he was an instructor at the union’s school for apprentices and taught the trade to hundreds of aspiring electricians.
He also served in leadership roles for the union. He was an officer on the union’s executive board for 12 years and served as their business representative. In addition, he was a member of the union’s joint apprentice board, the joint arbitration board and the electrical workers insurance board of trustees.
Mr. Brennan was a member of the Harmony Club of Chicago, the Cicero-Berwyn Elks and the Brookfield VFW Post 2868 Men’s Auxiliary. He was a voracious reader of history and politics.
Mr. Brennan became involved in Brookfield politics in 1997, helping his longtime political colleague Bill Russ mount a write-in campaign for village president. Russ lost, but the two forged a close friendship. They formed the Brookfield Independents Party a year later.
“He was the best friend I ever had in my life,” said Russ. “He was a good, honest, hard-working man. Any time you were in a jam, you could call Wil Brennan and he’d be there for you.”
In 2001, Brennan decided to throw his own hat into the ring. He ran for trustee, with Russ running for president, on the ticket of the newly formed VIP Party. The slate, which also included trustee candidates Kit Ketchmark and Gail Cabala, swept to victory.
As a trustee, Brennan was pragmatic. It was his idea, for example, to use money from the garbage fund to help maintain gravel alleys mashed by heavy waste hauling trucks. That policy was later expanded, and garbage fund dollars were used to help pave alleys by covering the cost of engineering and legal fees.
Brennan and Russ ran together for re-election in 2005, but lost. Undeterred, he ran again for village trustee in 2007 and 2011. He ran for village president in 2009 and for Riverside Township Democratic committeeman in 2010.
Mr. Brennan is survived by his wife, Linda Brennan (nee Korb); his children, Maire Brennan and Joseph Brennan; his stepchildren, Robert and Andrew Prochaska; 11 grandchildren and a sister.
A funeral Mass was celebrated April 8 at St. Barbara Church in Brookfield.
Johnson Funeral Home, Brookfield, handled arrangements.