John Jacob Brossart, 84 years old, of Ross, Ohio died January 18, 2023, in hospice care of lung failure, surrounded by his family.
John was born March 9, 1938, in Cincinnati to Jacob and Theresa (Rauen) Brossart. John's father, Jacob, left school to work after the sixth grade. "I don't think he ever knew anything but work," John recently said. That ethos was passed down to him. "I was never unemployed more than one day in my life."
His parents gave him the name Jacob John; and then baptized him John Jacob at St. Lawrence Church. Decades later, he made the baptismal name official. His father's hard work allowed the family to move up the Hill to Laclede Ave. behind St. Lawrence. He grew up playing baseball in the Price Hill Kiwanis Club against the likes of his age-peer Pete Rose, before either of them were a big deal.
His mother, Theresa, passed away when he was a sophomore in high school, and John began a life-long devotion to daily mass. As a server at mass at St. Lawrence and for the nuns at Seton High School, he would almost annually win an award of a stint at the diocesan Ft. Scott Summer Camp.
John's athletic career ended with a leg injury his freshman year during football tryouts and the challenge of baseball tryouts for a team that had won back-to-back state championships and only graduated one player. (It didn't help that the head coach wasn't even there to see John pull an inside fastball off the team's ace for a triple!)
As a high school senior, he met Mary Rita Bill. A chance encounter at the last dance of a high-school hop led to a relationship. Six years later they married. All told, they enjoyed 67 years of growth in love, joy, and service together.
John graduated from Elder High School in 1956. John loved his fellow alumni and the Panther athletic teams. John maintained football season tickets for decades, traveling to home games even when he lived in Maine--a 38 hour round-trip!
Thanks to a caring Walgreens pharmacist and tender shepherding of the Dean of Pharmacy, John graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy in 1960. Pharmacy was not his job, but his vocation. He was Ross, Ohio's pharmacist for 28 years. John and Mary Rita then lived in Farmington, Maine, for six years, before returning home and choosing to reside in Fairfield.
John and Mary Rita were blessed with eight children. John was the week-end grill master; the full-time quarterback in family football games; the full-time pitcher in family wiffleball. He coached the kids' sports teams when he knew the sport, did his best when the sport was new to him, and simply supported when it was beyond his experience. He had a special back-channel with Santa for them at Christmas. He tutored them through school, taught them the meaning of work, and how to love God.
Besides his Panthers and Bearcats, John loved the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, joining many university alumni clubs of opposing schools just to obtain their football tickets and take his children to see them play in South Bend.
He was a persistent, sometimes even stubborn, man. He attempted to water ski every year of his life from age 18 never getting up ... until he was 40. Downhill skiing came next, at 62, in Maine.
Active in his community, he co-founded the Morgan-Ross Athletic Association, bringing youth baseball and soccer to Ross, coaching numerous teams. On parish council for St. Aloysius Catholic Church, he was instrumental in moving to a new building. He served on the St. Joseph School Board of Education; taught Couple-to-Couple League; and eventually became a fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, Sacred Heart Council.
He loved travel, taking his children on trips as far as Maine, Florida, and South Dakota. Later, with Mary Rita, he ventured as far as Russia, China, France and Antarctica, missing only the continent of Australia.
He loved nature. An avid backpacker, he introduced his children to backpacking, and trekked with friends, brothers-in-law, nephews and nieces, and church groups. He loved birds, gardening and fermenting fruits of his labor into wine.
John loved God, serving Him over the years, first as a server at St. Lawrence, later as a lector at St. Aloysius and then at Sacred Heart. For years he was a maître de at St. Aloysius festival dinners. In retirement, he was a volunteer pharmacist for the St. Vincent de Paul pharmacy. John and Mary Rita were jail ministers in Farmington, Maine and, after moving back home, in Hamilton County, Ohio. At Sacred Heart Catholic Church they were Vincentians and communion ministers to the homebound.
Elder High School formed John, instilling in him the love of higher things reflected in his life. He pursued higher things throughout his life and now is in a higher place.
He is preceded in death by his parents, siblings Audrey (& Earl) Franks, Clete (& Mary) Brossart and son-in-law Jay McGrane (2002). He is survived by the love of his life, Mary Rita (Bill), and children John (Karen), Theresa (James Saba), Joseph (Kathleen), James (Julie), Michael (Amy), Noel (Eric Neyman), Andrew (Kathleen), and Sarah (Dominique Tardivon), and 26 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at Sacred Heart Church in Fairfield, Ohio on Saturday, February 11, 2023. Visitation will be from 9:45 to 11:00 a.m. and a memorial mass will begin at 11:00 a.m.. Memorial donations can be directed to the Elder High School Bill Family Scholarship Fund, 3900 Vincent Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45205 or St. Vincent de Paul Society, Sacred Heart Conference, 400 Nilles Rd. Fairfield, Ohio 45014.
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