Raymond Bernard Brossart: A Saint Behind the Scenes
April 24, 1917-August 28, 2010
Raymond Bernard Brossart was born on April 24th, 1917 to blacksmith, John Nicholas Brossart and Elisabeth Lauer Brossart. He was born into the Catholic faith on April 29th, 1917 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in California, KY. His godparents were Louisa Boschert and Bernard Beckerich. John Nicholas Brossart was a blacksmith in Cincinnati, OH for many years and also had his own shop on Gilbert Ridge in Alexandria, KY. Elisabeth was a homemaker raising five children, William, Vera, Raymond, Erwin and Clara Brossart.
Ray started his childhood attending catholic
school at St. Mary Elementary. During his young years he sacrificed his
education to work on the family farm for his families well being. At this time,
Ray learned many valuable lessons about farming and other trades from his
father. He went on to become a knowledgeable farmer, often giving advice to
family members. Ray’s niece Betty recalled a phone call she made to Uncle Ray in
2002 asking when to plant vegetables. Ray had told her to plant potatoes,
lettuce, radishes and onions on St. Patrick’s day. He was sure to tell her she
was to cover the lettuce with canvas or glass so it did not freeze, but she
shouldn’t worry about the potatoes as much!
In 1940, Ray purchased 5 acres from his parents and built what is now his home on Gilbert Ridge Rd. Ray met Marcella Seimmon and they married on November 25th, 1943 in a Catholic mass at St. Phillips church in Melbourne, KY. An addition was placed on the existing house later to accommodate a growing family. Ray built this addition with his own hands with help from his friends and neighbors, the Kramer family. They were able to lay the block as a foundation for the addition to house Ray and Marcella’s family.
During their marriage, Ray and Marcella enjoyed
many hobbies such as camping and going to dances with their friends Marvin and
May Reis. The early camping trips were made in a self made camper that Ray
welded and crafted on his own; however he later purchased one as well. It was so
well taken care of that to this day, Ray still has the very camper his family
enjoyed many wonderful memories in. They camped everywhere! From Natural Bridge
in Kentucky to Vermont, New Hampshire, Michigan, the Dakotas, ect. Marcella
wrote all about these trips in her many diaries. They were very fortunate to see
the states. Through the many family photos you can see that Ray and Marcella
lived a very fulfilling lifestyle. They felt as though they were blessed to
spend this time with cherished friends and family.
On November 16th, 1947 Ray and Marcella Brossart welcomed their first child, Robert John Brossart. Bob went into the United States Air Force after graduating from Bishop Brossart high school in 1966. Bob served his country until 1971 after visiting countries such as the Philippines and Thailand. Bob went on to further his education and get an Associate’s degree in Construction from Ohio College of Applied Science and his Bachelor’s degree from University of Cincinnati in Civil Engineering. As of 2010, Bob still works as a civil engineer.
On January 12, 1951 Ray and Marcella welcomed their second child, Roger Raymond Brossart. Roger followed the footsteps of his older brother after graduating high school at Bishop Brossart in 1969 and went into the United States Air Force, serving his country until 1975. Roger started working at Cincinnati Gas and Electric as a tree trimmer while he attended school at Northern Kentucky University. He graduated with is Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Management in 1980. He continued to further is education and received his MBA in 1984. In 2000 after 30 years, Roger retired from CG&E and started his full time partnership at Brossart Brothers Auto Body, of which he has been co-owner since 1986.
Welcoming their third and final son on October 19, 1960, Ray and Marcella Brossart welcomed Gary Lee Brossart. They were very fortunate to be able to send all three of their sons throughout catholic school. Gary graduated from Bishop Brossart high school in 1978 and started immediately crafting with hands as his father did. Gary was a tile setter for many years for Perfection Tile, after which he started his career as a successful business man in the body shop industry. Again following in the footsteps of his father, Gary started doing body work in a building at his home on Gilbert Ridge. After many years, he was able to build his business to include his brother Roger, as his father did with Uncle Bud. Brossart Brothers Auto Body officially opened its doors in 1986 as a fully fledged business and has remained successful today. Gary married in 1989 and went on to have the two only Grandchildren of Ray and Marcella Brossart. Alene Elizabeth Brossart was born on April 11th, 1992 to Gary and Debbie Brossart. Allie was quite the little girl! She bore a close resemblance to Gary as a child and was the girl the Brossart family long awaited! It was 6 years later on August 26, 1998 that Gary and Debbie added their second child, Garrett Lee Brossart. He also bore a close resemblance to his father. Both Grandchildren cherished their Grandfather and will remember the sweet man that he was. Ray was always interested in what they were learning and doing. He was also proud to have two beautiful grandchildren.
It is easy to see the love these children shared for their parents and each other. When you look at their family albums, you see buckets and buckets of smiles. Bob and Roger always made a special place in their lives for their younger brother, Gary. He came along 13 years after Bob and 10 years after Roger. Ray and Marcella cherished the time they spent with their sons. It is no doubt of the love that was spread in their home.
Ray was a talented man. He started doing body work in his building on Gilbert Ridge with his younger brother “Bud”. They did this together until World War II. At that time, Ray moved on to becoming a welder. He worked as a welder during World War II as well as the Korean war. During the Korean war, he made hot water heaters that were used for the men in the field. He also welded on bulldozers and for community businesses such as Southern Lanes bowling alley. Ray was a popular welder, as he purchased the first portable welder in Campbell County. This helped him service many people making it convenient for them. His welding career ended in retirement from Littleford Brothers after 32 years. His retirement sparked another interest, water hauling. Not only did Ray haul water for his family but also for neighbors and the fire department. Many did not know that he was a volunteer fireman for the Alexandria Fire Department.
Ray was a devout Catholic. You could say it was in his blood. His Great Uncle was Bishop Brossart, who the high school was named after. Ray spent much time as a young man with a child that would become Father Joseph Boschert . After moving from Gubser Mill as a child, Ray’s family moved to the St. Mary Parish. There Ray watched the church evolve as we know it. He watched the priest house being built, which currently houses the nuns. Ray attended the original school which was later torn down and a new one built as St. Mary Elementary. He saw this transformation and all others such as the ball fields being built. Ray was there to offer his assistance to haul the dirt that needed to be laid so the children could play ball. Adults were able to enjoy this to as many of Ray’s adult friends played baseball on this field on church leagues too. The Campbell County school system owned a small school off Washington Street. Once it was for sale, our Parish purchased this and made it a high school. This high school was to be named after The Brossart family’s great uncle, Bishop Brossart. As a member of Parish Council, Ray was there when the thoughts of expansion were needed for St. Mary Parish. Ray offered advice to Father DeJaco to purchase the land that was owned by Dr. Zinn of Alexandria. Parish Council agreed and the land was purchased. Thus, St. Mary Parish of Alexandria was to be built. Ray often spoke of the emotional times involved with tearing the “old” church down. He felt the presence of the Lord in that church for many years and it was to disappear. Although Ray spoke of his sadness of taking down the “old” church, Ray knew it was time for expansion. During construction, Ray was there as often as his schedule would allow. Ray hauled more dirt, water and built for the Lord through his hands. Ray gave to his family and to the Lord so unselfishly, his sons deem him as their Saint behind the scene.
Ray is survived by his three sons and two grandchildren as well as two siblings and a brother in law and sister in law. His sister Vera Brossart Kearns, who is 97 years old lives in Erlanger, KY and his Brother Erwin “Bud” Brossart, 88, lives in Alexandria with his wife Lillian. Raymond Brossart was proceeded in death in January, 2000 by his wife, Marcella Brossart. She is sadly missed by Ray and her son’s. Ray was very lucky to have support of his sons, his brother and sisters and the Lord during this difficult time. As the lives of the siblings grew older, their bond tightened. They have been so fortunate to have one another for so very long. It is the bond of love. However, just days before his own death; Ray was proceeded in death by his younger sister, Clara Brossart Burkhart on August 9th, 2010 who was 87 years old. Clara’s husband, Lou Burkhart resides in California, KY. An older brother, William Brossart, also proceeded Ray in death many years ago.