Allen Brenner, 64 / Nov. 13, 1947 — Feb. 13, 2012

Published 9:53 pm Monday, March 26, 2012

Allen Brenner, 64
Nov. 13, 1947 — Feb. 13, 2012


Allen Ray Brenner was born Nov. 13, 1947, in Benton Harbor, and passed peacefully into God’s care Feb. 13, 2012 in Clinton, N.C.

He is survived by his wife, Suzi Brenner; Rob, Allen, Kelly and Ben, children of Phyllis Brenner; mother, Patricia Deeds; brother, Terry Brenner; sister, Pamela Duval; and 12 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his father, Dale (Jan. 27, 1977), and his brother, Bill (July 19, 1978).

Al spent his childhood growing up in Niles. His parents, Patricia and Dale, were rich in all of the things that really counted: love, respect and a belief that anything was possible. Al loved playing all sports: baseball, basketball and of course, football. His passion and talent for sports could be seen at an early age. In high school, he led his football team in rushing, receiving and scoring. Al also emerged as one of the Big 6 Conference scoring leaders in basketball as a prep senior, averaging 31.3 points per game.

Presented with the options to pursue baseball, basketball or football at a higher level, he chose football at Michigan State University. Al was one of only two sophomores to start on MSU’s Big Ten and national championship team. He played in the 1966 “Game of the Century” against Notre Dame. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection (1966-68) and two-time Academic All-American (1966 — second team; 1968 — first team). A political science major, Al graduated with a 3.7 grade-point average.

Al was selected by the New York Giants in the 1969 National Football League draft. He spent two years with the Giants (1969-70) before he was injured with what he told his kids was the hardest hit to his leg he had ever had. In order to continue his career and provide for his wife and family of five, he moved to Canada to play in the Canadian Football League. In 1971, at 26 years old, he played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats, and they won the Grey Cup in 1972.

His family moved to Winnipeg for just a short period, as Al played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and then went off to the Ottawa Roughriders, where again he won another Grey Cup in 1976 at 31 years old.

In 1977, he quit football and still holds the record of 15 interceptions in just 14 regular season games in 1972. In that year, he intercepted Joe Theismann four times in one game.

Our father was everything great that you could possibly imagine or expect from any Dad. He spent a ton of time with us, helping us pursue our interests in academics, track, basketball, hockey and although he didn’t want us to, we also played football.

Given our Dad’s successful career, he was still unfailingly modest, kind and gracious and almost never talked about his accomplishments. People who knew Al often describe him as one of the nicest people you could know. He is remembered by all those that knew him with great affection.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church (13 South Fourth St.) on Saturday, March 31 at noon.

In lieu of flowers, please perform an act of kindness in Al’s memory.

Arrangements are being completed by Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles.