Robert A. Breneman, 96, a former fifty-plus year resident of Brookfield, passed from this life on February 13, 2020 in Naples, Florida where he had resided for the past several years. He was part of the Greatest Generation that fought in World War II to save the world. When he returned from the war, he helped put a man on the moon. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa on August 8, 1923, the younger son of John A. and Elsie M. Breneman.
Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After training, he was assigned as the flight engineer/top turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber (“Round Trip Rosie”), 450th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force. In late 1943, his plane and crew were deployed to Italy where they completed 12 bombing missions before being shot down over Austria in February 1944. He spent the following 13 months as a P.O.W. of the Germans before being liberated in the Spring of 1945. Among other service decorations, S/Sgt. Breneman was awarded the Air Medal.
Upon his return to the United States, he married Norine Miner, also of Des Moines. He attended Iowa State University on the GI Bill, graduating with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation, he went to work as a design engineer for AC Spark Plug in Milwaukee (whose aerospace operations eventually became AC Electronics and then part of Delco Electronics in Oak Creek, WI). He spent his entire career as an aerospace design engineer with AC/Delco, performing cutting-edge design work on inertial navigation systems for numerous military, space and commercial aircraft applications. Among his many work-related accomplishments, he helped design the Apollo (moon landing) guidance and navigation system; managed the maintenance of the Titan II missile guidance system; and helped design the Delco Carousel, which was a popular navigation automation system for commercial aircraft. He was the devoted husband to Norine for almost 60 years until her passing in 2007. He was an accomplished wood craftsman and, in his retirement, computer animator. On February 21st, he was interred in a crypt alongside Norine at Wisconsin Memorial Park in Brookfield.
Robert and Norine are survived by their two sons, Gregory of Phoenix and Scott of Seattle, and daughter-in-law Ilene of Seattle. He is further survived by the wife of his brother Warren, Barbara Breneman of Cincinnati, and their several children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Tributes may be made at https://www.beckerritter.com, and donations appreciated to Iowa State University Foundation, Ames, Iowa; American Red Cross, Washington, D.C.; and The Salvation Army, West Nyack, New York.
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