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John Edward Bretell
Major, United States Air Force
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From a press report: April 9, 1998

Retired U.S. Air Force Major John Edward Brettell, 42, of 3404 Lake Shore Drive, Winfield, died April 7, 1998, at Medicalodge East in Arkansas City.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Grace United Methodist Church. Burial will be held later in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

A memorial has been established with the American Brain Tumor Association. Contributions can be made through the church or Miles Funeral Service.

Brettell was born February 29, 1956, in New Castle, Pennsylvania, to John Allan and Patricia Anne (Taylor) Brettell. The son of a diplomat, he lived in Brazil as a child. In 1966 the family settled in Manhattan. He was active in Boy Scouts, debate and drama and graduated from Manhattan High School in 1974.

He received a bachelor's degree in history and pre-law from Kansas State University in 1978 and his Kansas teaching certificate in 1979.

Brettell attended Officer Training School for the U.S. Air Force in 1979 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. In his first assignment, he served as executive officer to an A-10 fighter squadron in England.

On June 7, 1980, he married Debora Ann Zimmerman of Wellington, and they made their home in Kettleborough, England. In 1982 he was reassigned as the OTS recruiter in Arlington, Texas. For three years, he was the top OTS recruiter in the nation.

Brettell then became a special agent for the secretary of the Air Force Inspector General's Office. He was assigned as the first officer at McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento, Calif., and in 1986 was named commander of the Office of Special Investigations detachment at England Air Force Base, Alexandria, Louisiana.

In 1988 he was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Office of Special Investigations in Washington, D.C., as deputy director of long range planning. His last assignment was to the Pentagon as director of the secretary of the Air Force Inspector General's Budget Office for AFOSI and AFIA.

He retired due to a brain tumor discovered in 1992.

His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with two oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service medal, Air Force Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon
with two oak leaf clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and Air Force Training Ribbon.

In 1994 the Brettells moved to Winfield where he was active with the Winfield Lions Club and Meals on Wheels and attended Grace United Methodist Church. He was also an active supporter of school activities at Pleasant Valley, Webster and Winfield Middle schools.

Survivors include his wife, Debora Brettell, and four daughters, Lauren, Anne, Emily and Sarah Brettell, all of Winfield; his parents, Allan and Pat Brettell, Ellisville, Mo.; and his sisters, Cindy Davis Brown, Ballwin, Mo., and Bonnie Manuel, O'Fallon, Mo.


Posted: 30 June 2002  Updated: 24 November 2005