William  Brenner, Jr.

Obituary of William O. Brenner, Jr.

William O. Brenner, Jr., one of the founding partners of RB+B Architects, Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado, passed away peacefully in his home on January 14th, 2024, with his family by his side. He was 93 years old.

Brenner grew up in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of 3 brothers born to William O. Brenner, Sr. and Evelyn Schroeder Brenner. He served in the Army from 1951 to 1953, as a Second Lieutenant in the tank corps, stationed in Texas. Upon discharge from the Army he entered the University of Colorado, Boulder receiving his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and Bachelor of Architecture. His enthusiasm for bowling led to a position on the CU bowling team, and he won many trophies. Bill was also active in CU’s Wesley Foundation Methodist group, where he met his wife Lucy. They were married in Boulder in June of 1955.

Brenner moved to Fort Collins in 1959, after graduating from CU, to work with William B. Robb, Architect and became a partner in 1971, creating Robb and Brenner, Architects and Planners. With the addition of George Brelig, the firm became Robb, Brenner and Brelig in the mid-80s and ultimately RB+B Architects, an award-winning firm noted for many of the region’s public buildings and commitment to sustainability and innovation in design.

Some of Brenner’s most recognized building designs include St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (described as “one of the loveliest examples of contemporary church construction in this country or in Europe” by Dr. Thomas P.F. Hoving of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City), the First United Methodist Church, Rocky Mountain High School Addition and Remodel, Scotch Pines Shopping Center and Apartments, Stuart Professional Park, and Indian Hills Condominiums, among others. Bill summed up his architectural philosophy by saying, “Architecture at its very best lifts our spirits. It’s an investment earning dividends in increased usefulness, pleasure, and economy.”

Brenner was a lifelong member of the Ft. Collins Lions Club and he and his wife, Lucy, were supporters and devoted attendees of the Ft. Collins Symphony since the early 60s. Bill served as president of both organizations. Bill and Lucy were members of First United Methodist Church and sang in the choir for many years. Brenner was an Old Testament scholar and taught classes in Boulder during his college years, and in Ft. Collins to both high school students and adults at the church. He enjoyed attending Samaritan classes and Serendipity classes throughout the years.

In his spare time, Bill was an avid sketcher and painter. Lucy remarked how, with a drawing pencil in hand, he had an intuitive ability to capture the essence and natural beauty of landscapes, people and animals. He also loved hiking and photography, especially when he could convince Lucy to go with him on his excursions. He enjoyed bowling and golfing with friends, and he and Lucy were members of a book group of good friends (the MOTH book group - or “Mostly Over the Hill”) for nearly 50 years. Bill loved challenging his mind, and in addition to reading, enjoyed playing chess - and teaching chess to young neighbors. Many dogs graced the Brenner household and morning dog walks were routine no matter the weather.

Bill and Lucy traveled to Santa Fe in the summers, Lucy for the love of the Santa Fe Opera, Bill for the love of the beautiful southwestern landscape and never-ending sky full of stars. Music was a big part of the Brenner household, with classical music playing from the stereo day and night. As an architect, Bill designed Lucy’s piano studio out of the original garage in their house, and served as Lucy’s “event coordinator” for her piano student Musicales she presented several times a year throughout her forty-year career as a successful piano teacher.

Bill was known for his infectious smile, his kind and gentle demeanor, and his one-liners and quick wit. His youthful appearance often inspired people to ask how he kept himself in such good shape and his response was always, with a twinkle in his eye, “just good, clean living!” Bill was always one to lend a hand when someone needed it, and he found joy in everything. He was naturally curious and enjoyed conversations with anyone, from close friends and family to someone he had just met. Bill truly embraced life and all it had to offer.

Bill and Lucy made lifelong friends in Fort Collins, and they loved raising their family here. A more devoted husband and father you will not find. Always excited to have their children, grandchildren, and extended family for visits, the Brenner house has been a warm and welcoming place for family and friends for over 50 years.

Bill is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lucy, his daughters Erica (Gary Adams) and Tamara (Phil Dixon), 4 grandchildren, Dylan, Jordan, Margy and Ethan, his brother Don (Catherine), his two brothers-in-law, John Heflin, and Chic Heflin, and nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family. He was preceded in death by his younger brother, Charles (married to Sharon).

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Fort Collins Lions Foundation:

1101 Oakridge Drive, Suite C

Fort Collins, CO 80525

The family is scheduling a celebration of life for later this spring.

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Vessey Funeral Service - Fort Collins
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