John was born in Pittsburgh‚ Pennsylvania‚ on January 3‚ 1947‚ to Anthony and Mary Brenckle. At 6′ 10” tall‚ John’s appearance gave the impression of a man who would demand attention‚ but he was a soft spoken and quiet individual.
Upon graduation from high school in 1964‚ John secured a job with Equitable Gas Company in Pittsburgh. John worked his way up from a laborer to becoming a large volume meter specialist. Throughout his career with Equitable Gas‚ John utilized very few sick days‚ and upon his death had an impressive 40-year employment with the gas company.
John was married in 1970 and became a proud father to his daughter‚ Amy‚ in 1971. Amy grew up in a home oriented to firefighters and the fire police. She saw the dedication and commitment her father displayed to the fire service from her childhood.
On the morning of Friday‚ September 17‚ 2004‚ John went to work at the gas company. After work‚ he went directly to help the Ross Township Fire Police at a severe flood scene caused by the remnants of hurricane Ivan. He did not arrive home until 2:00 a.m. on Saturday. (There were 126 calls recorded on September 17.)
John returned to the flood scene again on Saturday‚ September 18‚ to help with cleanup. On Sunday‚ September 19‚ he began to show signs of illness‚ and on Wednesday‚ September 22‚ he was taken to the emergency room and placed in critical care. On Thursday‚ September 23‚ at 8:23 p.m.‚ John passed away with his daughter at his side. His death was caused by a flesh-eating bacteria contacted in the floodwaters.
John was captain and president of the Ross Township Fire Police for 24 years and a founding member. Additionally‚ he was founder and president of the Greater North Hills Fire Police Association‚ a separate entity from the Ross Township Police‚ and a lifetime member of Berkeley Hills Volunteer Fire Company.
In May 2005‚ the Ross Township Fire Police dedicated their station to John‚ naming it John A Brenckle Memorial Hall. The ceremony included state and local leaders and executives from Equitable Gas Company.
In addition to his distinguished fire service‚ John was the recipient of the ‘Fireman of the Year’ Award in 1987‚ 1995‚ 2000‚ and 2005.