Obituary of Louis Lebrecht
Another Pioneer Called
Death of Ex-mayor Louis Lebrecht. A Remarkable Life
Closed. Impressive Funeral Services at the Vorwaerts Hall.
by B. C. Murray
(Sunday Gazetteer, Denison, Texas, December 7, 1902)
The year which is just drawing to a close will be
memorable for its number of pioneers who have passed from the stage of
The death of Mr. Louis Lebrecht, which took place
Monday, terminates a career of unusual interest and pre-eminent usefulness.
The ending of a valuable life in its prime, seems
to human reason, wonderful and mysterious waste, but rarely so much so
as in this instance.
While Mr. Lebrecht came to Denison in the first years
of its existence, at the time of his death was to the best standard of
mankind, in his prime. A man of fifty-four has a great deal to look forward
to in life. Mr. Lebrecht went to pieces very suddenly. He was an unusually
healthy man until within the past few weeks. There was a mental and physical
collapse, brought on by financial worry which his friends think might have
been avoided. There is no man who has ever lived in Denison whose life
has been more closely interwoven with our history than Louis Lebrecht.
He has always been a prominent factor in our industrial and social life.
We use the expression ?social,? for he has been president for the past
twenty-five years of a society that has always led in social and musical
events. His was an irrepressible personality which could never be kept
in the background. He played a leading part in every movement in which
he embarked. There was nothing conciliatory about his methods when he set
out to accomplish an object. His time and thought were consumed in accomplishing
whatever he undertook. That he was a leader of men no one will ever deny.
Take him all in all, he was one of the most remarkable men who ever lived
in Denison. As mayor of Denison he did much for the benefit of the community.
Some of his measures did not meet with public approval, but no one has
questioned his honesty and sincerity. He was the most active and aggressive
public official that has ever been at the head of the city government.
He devoted all of his time to official duties. He felt impelled to put
his mind, heart, and time into multifarious undertakings, for the benefit
of the city, as he thought best, from his standpoint, but not always with
the approval of the public.
For the past twenty-five years, he has been the heart,
soul, and inspiration of the leading social, musical, and in some respects
educational society in Denison?The Society Vorwaerts. In his public life
they knew him best. He was by general consent, their leader. Mr. Lebrecht
was a very intellectual man, and, in some respects, of the highest ideals.
He was, on almost any occasion, able to make an entertaining speech. He
was in constant demand when people desired to be entertained. He was a
good, true, and loving husband.
Lebrecht had no religion. He was a Jew, but lived
outside of the faith of his fathers. He was very radical, dogmatic, on
everything touching a future life and religion of whatever sort. He was
impulsive, possessing the spirit of independence. He hated the chains which
bind a man to creeds.
Mr. Lebrecht was born in Bingen on the Rhine, in Germany.
He came to this country at a very early age. He was a young man when he
cast his lot with Denison in 1872. His ancestry in Germany are [sic] very
distinguished. His father was a Rabbi. His family connections are among
the best in the Fatherland.
Mr. Lebrecht was twice married. Fannie, sister to
his present wife, died a number of years ago. He has seven children by
his present wife, six sons, and the last a baby girl. He had acquired handsome
property at the corner of Main street and Houston avenue. When the affairs
are settled up, the widow will be in comfortable circumstances. Mr. Lebrecht
carried an insurance on his life. In the death of Mr. Lebrecht, Denison
has lost a representative and a good citizen. He filled a space in the
history of Denison, which will make him long remembered. To his family
we offer sincere condolence.
The Last Rites
It was meet that the last respects to the memory of
Louis Lebrecht should be paid in Vorwaerts Hall, for all of the associations
of his most active life were centered there. In fact it was almost as much
his home as the parental roof which sheltered his wife and family. For
twenty-five years, he has seldom absented himself.
The coffin arrived at 2:30 and was placed on a dais
in the front part of the hall. Streamers of black descended from the walls
around the coffin. There was a lovely display of floral tributes placed
there by affectionate hands. It is very seldom that more flowers are in
evidence at a funeral. For over an hour there was a steady stream of visitors
flowing to and from the hall taking a farewell look at the dead.
There was present a very large number of ladies, and
a most affecting scene was the presence of a number of colored people who
wished to take the last view of the man who had befriended them in life.
The Twin City Band played a funeral dirge, after which
Vice President August Knecht, of the Vorwaerts, delivered a short address
Attorney E. J. Smith was then called forward and,
standing at the bier, delivered one of the most eloquent and remarkable
tributes that has ever been heard in Denison. It has seldom been surpassed
by the most studied effort. It was a tribute that should be preserved in
the archives of the Vorwaerts Society. The Singing Section contributed
to the solemnity of the occasion. There was a large delegation of visiting
Germans present from Sherman and other points. There must have been 1,000
people at intervals at the Hall.
The Vorwaerts marched at the head of the procession,
then followed a line of carriages that covered several blocks. The pall
bearers were B. C. Murray, Theodore Wahls, Wm. Geiger, Alex. Margill, L.
M. Fitzgerald, and Chas. Pascal.
At the grave in Fairview Cemetery, Dr. Yeidel delivered
a feeling and impressive tribute to the dead in German, and the grave closed
forever over all that was mortal of Louis Lebrecht.
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