John Barron Bremner
Birth date: April 6, 1936
Death date: February 12, 2012
John Barron Bremner, whose lifelong career at Coe and Cornell Colleges touched the lives of many, died on Sunday, February 12, 2012, at home in Iowa City. He was 75.
Though ill with cancer for far too long, Barron lived every moment fully and with an intense love of life, family and his many, many friends.
Barron was born April 6, 1936, in Knob Lick, Missouri, to parents Noel and Bertha Marie(Bess)Bremner. He moved to Iowa with his family in 1943 and graduated from Iowa Falls High School in 1954.Barron pursued and found success in football and wrestling at the University of Iowa where he earned his BA and MA degrees.
He was a member of the 1957 Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship football team and the Big Ten Championship wrestling team. Barron was president of the Delta Upsilon social fraternity, the Phi Delta Kappa educational fraternity and the Iowa Lettermen’s Club.Barron was a college educator at Coe College and Cornell College for 42 years. He firmly believed in the value of athletic experiences in building individuals of strong character. Barron coached football, wrestling and tennis at Cornell from 1959–1978; coached football and wrestling and served as athletic director at Coe from 1971–1978; coached wrestling and served as athletic director and assistant to the president at Cornell from 1978–1982; served as vice president at Cornell 1982–1993; and ended his career at Coe as athletic director and assistant to the president 1993–2001.Barron served as president of the NCAA College Wrestling Coaches Association and served on the NCAA Wrestling Committee and NCAA Swimming Committee. He was elected to the College Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, to the Coe College Athletics Hall of Fame, and to the Cornell College Sports Hall of Fame. In 2001, Coe College created the annual “Barron Bremner Outstanding Athlete Award” in honor of Barron’s many years of outstanding ervice to the college, its students and the community. In 2011, Coe and Cornell established “The Bremner Cup,” an all sport traveling trophy in honor of Barron and his 42 years of service with both colleges.
Barron married Elizabeth “Bette” (Bates) Bremner on August 9, 1961,in Allee Chapel on Cornell’s campus. Always celebrating the abundance in life, they enjoyed a family of six children. After 29 years of marriage, Bette preceded him in death in 1990. He married Virginia “Ginne” (Fristedt)Bremner on December 16, 1994, at their home in Mt. Vernon, adding in countless ways to both the family and their shared fun.
In addition to his wife, Ginne, he is survived by five children and their spouses: Barbara Bremner and her husband Peter Stevenson of Des Moines; William Bremner and his wife Lynn (Klinge) of Minneapolis; Brenda (Bremer) Clark and her husband Dr. Jeff Clark of Cedar Falls; Dr. Rebecca Bremner and her husband Matthew Pigg of Portland, OR; and Dr. Barron Bremner and his wife Britt (Skogman) of Des Moines. He is also survived by stepson Steven McLeran and his wife Laura (McComas) of North Liberty.Known as “Papa” to them all, Barron is survived by sixteen grandchildren: Gabriel and Xavier Stevenson; Samantha, Madeline, and Abigail Bremner; Gabriel and Jenna Clark; Perry Henderson; Sabine, Henry, and Eleanor Pigg; Maclain, Kylie, and Tatum Bremner; Lucas and Samuel McLeran. Additionally, Barron is survived by two brothers and a sister: Dr. Robert Bremner of Cedar Falls,Rear Admiral Bruce Bremner of Colorado Springs and Elizabeth (Bremner) Isaac of New Virginia. Barron was preceded in death by his wife Bette in 1990, his daughter Elizabeth Noel Bremner in 1992, and his brother Dr. George W. “Bill” Bremner in 2007.
Barron was larger than life. He touched the lives and shaped the futures of countless students and athletes over the years. He has left the world a much greater place and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
A public celebration of Barron’s life will be held Saturday, March 3rd at 2 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium at Coe College. A reception will follow at Coe's Gage Memorial Union Dining Hall.Friends may, if they wish, make a memorial gift to Coe College, Cornell College, Iowa City Hospice or, as Barron suggested some tie ago, “give a doubledip ice cream cone to a child.”
Coe College Foundation
Cornell College Foundation
Iowa City Hospice
2:00 pm on Saturday, March 3, 2012 Saturday, March 3rd at 2 p.m. in SinclairAuditorium at Coe College. A reception will follow at Coe's Gage Memorial Union Dining Hall.