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John Phillip Brecht

Mr. John Phillip Brecht of 5081 North Fork Church Road, Virgilina died April 25, 2014 at Piney Forest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Danville. 

Mr. Brecht was born on Feb. 10, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois and was the son of the late Karl Francis Brecht of Chicago and Anna Frances Justice Brecht of Highbridge, Wisconsin.

He attained the rank of Eagle Scout and graduated early from Hyde Park High School in order to enlist in the U.S. Army in early 1945. He served in the Phillipines as a radio operator and corpsman until six months after the war. After his discharge from the Army, he drove to Alaska in an Army surplus jeep to work in the gold fields one summer. Later, he would join the Illinois National Guard and achieved the rank of master sergeant.

John’s love of airplanes encouraged him to return to school at the Chicago Aeronautical University with the help of the G.I. Bill. He graduated as an aeronautical engineer and worked for many companies including Martin Marietta. He contributed to projects including the Gemini Project, Viking Lander and the Nike Ajax missile program.

In 1976, John moved to Virginia and founded the Eagle Parachute Company. He was a competitive marksman winning many medals and awards. Earlier, he had worked for a gun manufacturing company and collected firearms.

Mr. Brecht was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution as his seventh grandfather, John Gibson, had fought in the American Revolution as well as the War of 1812.

John is survived by his wife, Jeanna Laird Brecht, of Oak Island, North Carolina; a son, Johnathan Brecht; a daughter-in-law, Hanna Jachacy; and three grandchildren, Erik, Anna and Katherine, all of Warsaw, Poland. 

Commital services were conducted May 15, 2014 at the Olena Cemetery in Henderson County, Illinois by the Rev. Steve Minkler. American Legion Post #765 accorded military rites.