Col. James A. “Jack” Brantner, 97, of North Fort Myers, Fla., peacefully departed this world for his heavenly home Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in his home, surrounded by his loving and devoted family.
He was born March 1, 1916, in Ashland, Wis., the son of James and Ida (nee Kinsman) Brantner.
After growing up in Ashland, he attended The University of Alabama on an athletic scholarship, where he was captain of the basketball team. He graduated from The U of A in 1939, and became a lifelong BAMA fan —“Roll Tide!” After graduation, Col. Brantner coached the Greenville, Miss., HS basketball team to their first state championship. He married the love of his life, Kathleen R. Hart of Hartford, Conn., on Feb. 27, 1940. He was a devoted husband and father to their eight children.
An Air Force veteran of more than 26 years, Col. Brantner served his nation proudly both overseas, and held command and staff positions in almost all major Air Commands stateside. Most notably, he served two tours at Headquarters USAF in the Pentagon, was Base Commander at Homestead AFB during the Cuban missile crisis, and Base Commander at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, N.Y. As his second career, Col. Brantner worked as Manager of the Univ. of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tenn.
After retiring in 1974, attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion became an important part of his daily activities. He also loved design challenges, and applied his engineering knowledge and training in both professional and personal construction projects. He was always quick to help others in home design and additions. For the past 35 years, Col. Brantner enjoyed splitting the year between his home in North Fort Myers, and a beloved lakeside home in Delta, Wis.
He is survived by his daughters, Linda Redmond Brantner, Therese Aden Kilfoyle, Cea (Fred) Call and Kathleen “Rosebud” Brantner; sons, John (Karen) Brantner, Steve Brantner, Jim Brantner and Bill (Sarah) Brantner; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Kathleen, on June 15, 2001; his parents; and four sisters.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 1, 2014, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Fort Myers, Fla. At a later date, a Mass of Christian Burial will take place at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Ashland, followed by burial at St. Agnes Cemetery.
The Brantner family would like to thank the compassionate team of Hope Hospice for all their love and support.