John Francis Braeunig, 94, passed away on early Saturday morning, Feb. 8, 2014, at Firelands Regional Medical Center following a brief illness.
John, the son of Leo J. and Julia C. (Eckman) Braeunig, was born in Sandusky on Oct. 28, 1919. Several of his childhood years were spent in Lakewood, Ohio, before the family moved back to Sandusky where they remained. He graduated from St. Mary Catholic High School in 1937 as an excellent student with high academic and athletic recognition.
John was employed at Union Chain in Sandusky when he answered the call to enter World War II, where he proudly served his country as a Master Tech Sergeant in the Marine Corps. His intelligence and aptitude led him to serve primarily in the new technology of radar as an operator and technician in the Pacific theater, saving many pilots’ lives through his skill in guiding them to safety. He saw action most notably in the Peleliu and Solomon Islands campaigns.
During the war years, he and childhood acquaintance Rita Lucille Geason began a correspondence through letters sent across the miles. The letters became more and more special, and love bloomed. John and Rita were married on June 11, 1946, in Sandusky - a union that would last for 65 years.
In 1950, John graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He began his career at Sears Roebuck’s television repair department, eventually managing the entire department. By way of John’s impeccable work ethic, tenacity, and brilliant mind, his career culminated as an electrical engineer at NASA Plum Brook Nuclear Reactor Facility, where he retired in 1984. He was a member of the Health Physics Society and the Nuclear Engineering Society.
With the birth of daughter Mary Frances in 1953, John and Rita began raising a family. Margaret Mary soon followed in 1954, and son Robert Andrew arrived in 1958. John dearly loved and was devoted to his wife and children. He maintained a sense of balance between work and family. The time he spent with his children gave them memories to cherish for a lifetime. Picnics, story-telling, beach outings, Cedar Point, horsey-back rides, and driving around on Christmas Eve searching the sky for Santa’s sleigh were activities never trivialized by John.
Anyone who knew John closely could not help but be influenced by his example in the areas of individual responsibility, self-sufficiency, work ethic, high moral standards, loyalty, commitment, and honesty. John’s talents were in his ability to accomplish nearly anything he set his mind to. Calling a repairman was nearly unheard of for this master “Mr. Fix-It”. If John couldn’t fix it, then it couldn’t be fixed as was evidenced by the huge basement workshop he set up containing hundreds of tools, big and small.
He is survived by his son, Robert Braeunig of Centerville, Ohio; two daughters, Mary Braeunig of New York, and Margaret (Patrick) Schryver of Dayton, Ohio; and a sister, Delores Berry of Texas.
In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by his wife, Rita L. (Geason) Braeunig; six sisters, Virginia Ritzenthaler, Veronica McCreery, Amelia Volz, Mary Beck, Dorothy Braeunig, and Leona Winchester; two brothers, Leo Braeunig of Sandusky, and Robert in infancy.
Friends may call 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Groff Funeral Homes & Crematory, 1607 E. Perkins Ave., Sandusky. A prayer service will be conducted at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m., at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 429 Central Ave., Sandusky, with Father David Nuss and Father Philip Feltman officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Sandusky.
Memorial contributions, if desired, may be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, specified for the building and lighting improvements project, at 429 Central Ave., Sandusky, OH 44870.