Herbert C. Brinkmann, Jr. died on Monday, March 25, 2019, at age 77. He leaves behind his wife & sweetheart of 52 years, their 3 children, and 3 grandchildren. Herb was the oldest of 7 siblings. Three sisters and two brothers also said goodbye to him, while his parents & one sister welcomed him on the other side.
Herb was raised on a farm in Aurora, IN. He enjoyed telling his kids stories of taking baths in the creek with Lava soap, and of having to milk cows & feed every farm animal before breakfast. Here his lifelong love of horses began.
He graduated from Aurora High School in 1959, where he was voted “Class Clown.” As a National Merit Scholar, he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue Univ. in 1965, and was inducted into the academic honor society, Tau Beta Pi. He was an engineer at the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co, and later at Zimmer Nuclear Power Plant. He took graduate courses in Nuclear Engineering, traveled extensively all over the US as a member of “The Nuclear Gypsies”, and even participated in information exchanges with Japan and Germany.
Herb met his wife on a city bus where he woo-ed her with a photo of his pet cow, Rosie, that he carried in his wallet. She married him later that year before anyone else realized what a catch he was. Together they were excellent parents to two daughters and a son. They moved from Cincinnati to a small town near the Indiana border to raise their family and to have land for horses. Herb’s favorite way to start every weekend was with long “Saturday morning hugs” from everyone. He then cooked a huge family breakfast comparable to a restaurant buffet. The family later relocated to North Carolina where Herb worked at Carolina Power & Light Co, and later became a private engineering consultant to several nuclear power companies across the US.
While in Beaver Valley, PA on a consulting job, he read about a horse auction in nearby New Wilmington. When he got there, he knew he was home! Having found this horse lovers area, he retired in Pulaski, PA, nestled in the midst of picturesque Amish farms. Here Herb was joyfully immersed in a close-knit community that shared his love of horses and strong family values. Surrounded by his Amish friends, with his cherished wife, he lived out his dream of having a small hobby farm complete with a horse & buggy, a pony & cart for his grandchildren and the neighbor kids, a small herd of sheep, an occasional pig, the fanciest breeds of chickens he could find, a turkey that followed him down the driveway, and dozens of bluebird nesting boxes. He & his youngest grandson daydreamed together about owning a pair of magnificent peacocks one day. One of Herb’s favorite pastimes was sitting on the porch with his lifelong sweetheart, making up names for all the woodpeckers that came to the suet feeders, and admiring the pretty yellow flowers blooming in the garden that they planted together.
His major life regrets were not owning a Dutch Harness horse or a giraffe. A hay feeder hung near the roof of his barn just in case a giraffe ever became available.
“His work ethic, sacrifice and honesty were demonstrated to me as an unspoken example for me to follow. His perseverance, strength, and forgiveness will forever be my aspiration. I hope to teach my kids as much as he taught me. He always had my back,” says one daughter.
“He was my rock here on Earth – my moral compass. He was ridiculously funny when I least expected it, and enormously forgiving & supportive when I made my worst mistakes in life,” says his other daughter.
“He taught me to obsess over the tiny details that no one else cares about,” says his fellow engineer son. “His ability to show you the pain and suffering of others was enough to defuse even the most intense anger and instill a deep sense of empathy.”
“He was instructing with discipline, and told funny & interesting stories about his youth at the dinner table. I miss the newspaper articles he used to send me in the mail. They were interesting homeschool lessons,” says one grandson.
His wife sums up their 52 years of marriage by saying, “Intelligent men love intelligently.”
Favorite Herb quote: “Close the door! You’re lettin’ the flies out!”
Arrangements by Cremation & Funeral Service by Gary S Silvat Inc. Send condolences by visiting: www.crematepa.com.