Cover photo for Alfred "Al" Oran Brey's Obituary
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Alfred "Al" Oran Brey

February 12, 1922 — August 13, 2023

Sabetha, Kansas

Alfred "Al" Oran Brey

Alfred “Al” Oran Brey, 101, longtime resident of Sabetha, Kansas for 66 years, died Sunday, August 13, 2023, at the Sabetha Manor.

Al was a family man, World War II veteran, and automobile dealer.  He loved talking with people and was a consummate businessman.  Al was greatly loved by his family and friends.  He loved to joke, and self-described himself as “ornery.”  He helped many people in different ways.  He was a “jack of all trades” and knowledgeable on many subjects, was always willing to help people, and offered good advice. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Kiwanis Club, VFW, and served many years as assistant Boy Scout leader in Sabetha.    

Al was born on February 12, 1922, in Oskaloosa, Kansas, the first-born son of Jacob Brey and Zelma (Lowe) Brey.  He had three brothers and three sisters including twins, Charles and Ceona, Loreta, Dale, Eldon, and Belva.  Al graduated from Ozawkie Rural High School and Sweeney Aviation School in Kansas City.  At the age of 18, he traveled to Baltimore, Maryland and worked at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company assembling B-26’s.  He returned to Kansas and worked at North American Aviation where he built B-25’s.  He enlisted in the United States Army in August of 1943.  After basic training he was sent to Honolulu, Hawaii where he served the war effort by repairing and recapping tires.  He was honorably discharged after two and a half years of service in 1946.

Al worked a variety of jobs before he found his true calling as an automobile dealer.  He wired homes for REA, farmed, managed electrical departments at Montgomery Wards and Sears, and started his own construction company, B & L Construction, in Topeka, Kansas.  He moved for a short time to Los Angeles, California where he was in the wholesale grocery business and then a salesman for Packard and Studebaker.  In 1955, he returned to Kansas and worked as a salesman and bookkeeper at Mercer Chevrolet in Valley Falls, Kansas.

In 1957, Al moved to Sabetha where he had been approved by General Motors to take over the Chevrolet dealership from Mishler Chevrolet, re-naming the dealership, Brey Chevrolet.  The dealership expanded several times between 1957 and 1975, adding brother, Dale, as parts manager and then Oldsmobile and Cadillac to his product line.  His dealership was located where Bachelor Controls and Brick Street currently operate.  After selling the dealership, he dealt in used cars and trucks, farm implements, and antiques.   He raised Angus cattle and had a hog raising operation for a time.  Al served on the Sabetha Housing Authority Board for 25 years during the time South Park High Rise apartments were built. 

Al married his high school sweetheart, Dolores “Dee” June Gibson on August 24, 1947, in Oskaloosa.  They were married for 62 years before Dee passed away on November 19, 2009.  They had one son, Galen Brey, D.D.S. who graduated from Sabetha High School in 1968, Kansas University in 1972, and UMKC Dental school in 1976.  Galen lives with his wife of 29 years, Rebecca, in Fairhope, Alabama. 

Al was preceded in death by his parents; his two brothers and his sister-in-law, Dale and Dorothy Brey and Charles Brey; his three sisters and three brothers-in-law, Ceona and George Michaelson, Loreta and Lloyd Zwygart, and Belva and Ken Fox; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Warren and Jean Noble; and his three nephews, Marion Noble, Darrin Fox, and Larry Zwygart.

Al is survived by his son, Galen (Rebecca) Brey of Fairhope, Alabama; his brother, Eldon Brey of Topeka, Kansas; his sister-in-law, Ruth Brey of Oskaloosa, Kansas; his two grandchildren, Molly Brey Johnson of Asheville, North Carolina and Jacob Brey of Birmingham, Alabama; his two great-grandchildren, Claire Marilyn and Crosby Alfred Johnson; his nephews, Roger (Liz) Brey of Sabetha, Alan Michaelson of Topeka, Kansas; Steve (Dr. Kim) Brey of Meriden, Kansas; Lynn (Donna) Zwygart of Topeka, Kenton (Hilaire) Fox of Alexandria, Virginia, Kevin (Nancy) Fox of Topeka, and Edwin (Pat) Noble of Oskaloosa; his nieces, Karen (Paul) Bodner, Carol (Rick) Hummel, Lisa (Richard) Ruiz all of Topeka, Nancy (Gary) Knudson of Mayetta, and Linda (Ed) Buttron of Nortonville, Kansas; his numerous great-nieces and great-nephews; and many friends.

Funeral service will be held on Monday, August 21, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at the Sabetha Methodist Church in Sabetha.  Prior to the service, a visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the church.  Graveside service and interment will follow the funeral service at the Ozawkie Cemetery, 9532 98th Street, Ozawkie, Kansas at 2:30 p.m.  Popkess Mortuary in Sabetha, Kansas is assisting the family with the funeral arrangements. 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alfred "Al" Oran Brey, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, August 21, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Sabetha Methodist Church

806 Main Street, Sabetha, 66534

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Funeral Service

Monday, August 21, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Sabetha Methodist Church

806 Main Street, Sabetha, 66534

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service and Interment

Monday, August 21, 2023

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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