Thomas J. Brennan

June 20, 1924December 30, 2012

Thomas Joseph Brennan, 88, surrounded by family and friends, passed away after a period of declining health, on December 30th, 2012, in Charlotte, NC. Tom was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on June 20, 1924, the son of James J. and Nora Brennan.

Tom was an honor student and athlete at Haverford High School in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and graduated in 1943. After graduation, Tom attended Rider College in New Jersey, where he lettered in basketball, football and golf and gained many life long friendships. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and graduated in 1949.

Tom Brennan proudly served his country during World War II as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army’s 41st Infantry Division. During his service, he was bestowed commendation of The Purple Heart and The Bronze Star Award under U.S. General Omar Bradley.

After the war, Tom married his first love and high school sweetheart, Mary Louise Wertzberger on April 22, 1950, and the couple resided in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Houston, Texas and then settled in Charlotte, NC, where they lived most of their lives. Tom and Mary raised eight wonderful children; five sons: Thomas Jr., Barry, Kevin, Tim and Terry, and three lovely daughters: Mary Louise, Colleen and Patricia.

After college, he began a sales management career in the steel industry, primarily with Armco Steel, that spanned an impressive 50 years.

Tom’s dedication and generosity throughout his life did not go unrecognized. In 1980, Tom and Mary Brennan were deeply honored to receive Honorary Doctorates of Law Degree (L.L.D.) from Belmont Abbey College. They were recognized at the school’s commencement address that year by Belmont administrators in accordance with the theme: “The American Family: in the Year of the Family.” As a devout Catholic his entire life, Tom remained active in the Church and was a parishioner of St. Peter's Catholic Church. He was proud to be a life long member of the Knights of Columbus Council 770 in Charlotte. In the spirit of giving, Tom was credited with developing the Knights of Columbus Charity Horse Show, which was a long-standing tradition in Charlotte, its proceeds given to local area families and charitable organizations in need.

As a licensed Steward for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and The Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI) for 35 years, Tom was a respected official at hundreds of world-class equestrian events all over the country. He served a term as head of the licensed officials for the USEF, and was honored to be the recipient of "The Sallie Busch Wheeler Memorial Sportsmanship Trophy" in 2010 at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.

Tom was proud to be able to live his passion for basketball as the head basketball coach for Charlotte Catholic High School for many, many years. He was deeply honored in the last year of his life, to be inducted into the Charlotte Catholic High School Hall of Fame. His love for basketball spanned the years, and he deeply cherished the lifelong friendships he had with former players and students.

Tom will be remembered for his sense of humor, his love of storytelling and his tremendous faith in God. There wasn't a stranger he wouldn't befriend, or a trip to Ireland he didn't cherish. He was a loving husband and father, who adored his grandchildren and great- grandchildren. Above all else, he treasured family and friends, and went out of his way to lend a hand to those in need.

He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Mary Louise, whom he lost too soon; brother, Charles Brennan; and parents, James and Nora Brennan.

Tom is survived by his wife, Lynn Purdie Brennan, whom he married in 1991. Tom and Mary leave behind eight children: Thomas Jr. (Barbara) of Hendersonville, Tennessee, Barry (Jane) of Littleton, Colorado, Mary Louise (Ben Choate) of Heath Springs, South Carolina, Colleen Ross of Charlotte, North Carolina, Kevin (Ashley) of Greenville, South Carolina, Patricia (Paul Coughlin) of Charlotte, North Carolina, Tim (Zoe) of Charlotte, North Carolina and Terry (Katie) of Charlotte, North Carolina. He was the proud grandfather of sixteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren: Sean Ross, Brady Ross, Brennan Choate, Kennedy Snyder, Amelia Snyder, Beckett Brennan, Conor Brennan, Rhys Brennan, Cameron Coughlin, Kristen Coughlin, Conor Coughlin, Lynne Bevins, Parker Bevins, Pryce Bevins, Meredith Bevins, Murphy Brennan, Mary McGuire Brennan, Patrick Brennan, Thomas Brennan, Jody Lavender, Megan Lavender, and Samantha Lavender.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at St. Peter’s Church at 507 South Tryon Street in Charlotte, NC. Tom will be interred immediately following at Belmont Abbey at 100 Belmont-Mt Holly Road in Belmont, North Carolina.

Gifts in Tom's memory may be made to the The Friedland Foundation c/o The Foundation For The Carolinas, 220 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28202.

Condolences may be offered at


  • Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, January 5, 2013

Thomas J. Brennan

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Ray& Alison Digan

April 21, 2013

To Lynn and all the Brennan Family. it is with great regret to learn of the death of Thomas(Tom).A wonderful husband, A most wonderful father, and a great, great friend. Carolians & Ireland's Loss heavens gain Rip Tom. We will never forget you .Tom and family will always be in our prayers.

January 8, 2013

To the Brennan Clan:

This is truly the end of an era. Tom and Mary Brennan were the king of people that all of us want as friends. They were fun, kind, moral,religious, hard working and good solid people. The world will be at a lost for a bit. However, I know that Vic & Jean were with Mary waiting to welcome Tom home. I have visions of them having coctails and dinner and laughing for hours. We were such luky kids to have had parents like this! The Brennan clan will continue Tom's kindness and world imppact, I know. Prayers continue for all of you. I wish that we could have been in NC to say goodbye.
We will always remember Tom & Mary Brennan.
Lots of Love,
Vicki Williams English

January 7, 2013

Bill and I send our deepest sympathies to the family. I know Tom would have loved all you arranged in his honor, particularly the wake. The service, Tom's eulogy, the bagpipes and the lovely singing were all a wonderful tribute to a life extremely well-lived. You all were so fortunate to have him as a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Bill and I feel honored to be numbered among his many friends. May God continue to hold the Brennans in the palm of his hand until you see Tom and your mother again. (God has a really big palm.) Libby and Bill

ruth cecil

January 6, 2013

Dear Tim and Zoe,
We send our deepest sympathy to you and your family. I know your father's love will live on in your hearts forever.
Love, Ruth and Chris

Mary Pat Harvey

January 6, 2013

I am so glad I was able to attend your
father's Mass yesterday. I only had
the privilege of knowing him for a
few years. He came to CCH when I was
a Sophomore. You all were very young,
and some just a love in your Mother's
heart yet to come. I never had the
privilege of knowing you. But have
heard wonderful stories from my sister
Peggy Harper Burley,
May God rest his Irish soul in peace.
Mary Pat Harper Harvey/Rock Hill SC

Gwen Campbell Rhodes

January 6, 2013

I have many fond memories of your father and the fabulous horse shows he organized. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. My parents send their condolences as well.

Lori Robinson-Veith

January 6, 2013

What a beautiful service you all gave to your father today. Tom Jr's message about your father's kindness and willingness to stop whatever he was doing to spend time with his children and give each of you whatever he could (even a sweater from his closet) speaks volumes of the true selfless love both Tom and Mary had for their family. Growing up with Trish and coming to the Brennan farm was always a special much warmth, love and laughter. What a blessing and an honor it is to have known both of your parents. May God strengthen and comfort you all at this time.

Paul Heffner

January 5, 2013

I have known Colleen since we were in first grade together at St Ann's. Just like my family the Brennan's had a large Catholic family. Great people and great memories. I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing Colleen but happy to know he has rejoined your mother and is now enjoying eternal life with God in heaven. May God Bless the entire Brennan family.

Barbara Baker

January 5, 2013

To the Brennan Family:
Your dad was the best! I knew him for many years from the horse show world. His endless tact, diplomacy, and experience were legendary. What a treasure!We were lucky to have enjoyed him for so many years. My sympathies to all of you on your loss.

Cathy Morris

January 5, 2013

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.