American Veteran 04

Forrest Henry McBrien

August 31, 1936 ~ February 21, 2021 (age 84)


Forrest Henry McBrien
August 31, 1936-February 21, 2021

I believe that the measure of a man is the reflection of what he leaves behind.  A man’s actions say more about the man’s character than words.  When you look across the lifespan of Forrest, you will see that his reflection and his actions have touched so many.  Forrest was a simple farm boy from Pennsylvania that grew up in Ohio and never wanted much for himself. Forrest was raised on principles, honor, loyalty, and that your family is an important part of you. Forrest lived by God’s commandment, love your neighbor as yourself. And Forrest didn’t know anyone who wasn’t a neighbor!  He treated everyone with respect and was always willing to lend a helping hand no matter what. If you asked him why, he would say “because it is the right thing to do”.  Forrest shared his philosophy with everyone he met, not with just words, but with actions.

Forrest Henry McBrien was taken home on Sunday, February 21, 2021, at the young age of 84.  He will be greatly missed. He was a loving husband, amazing father, and an adoring Papa.  A friend to all, partner in crime, great storyteller, and best friend.  He is leaving behind the love of his life of 46 years, Joyce McBrien, along with his children, and their spouses: Justin and Brandy McBrien, Allison and Kevin FitzSimmons, and Michael Dziesinski.  He also leaves behind the apples of his eye, his 9 Grandchildren: Kalli FitzSimmons, Alex McBrien, David Zeledon, Bubba FitzSimmons, Autumn McBrien, Davinia Zeledon, Vann McBrien, Erawyn McBrien, and Lyric McBrien.  Forrest is also survived by his two beautiful sisters, Joann Perry and Alice Godwin, to whom he loved and thought the world of, as he joins his brother Ray in heaven.  

Forrest was lovingly known as Mac, Daddio, Daddy, Papa, Papa Trees, Dude, Popps, Poppie, Pee Paw, and Bo.

On August 31, 1936 in the little town of Beaver Pennsylvania, Forrest was born on a farm inside his parent’s house, Kenneth Ray and Grace Marie McBrien.  As a young boy, Forrest and Sheppie, his dog, grew up on the family’s dairy farm. Bo would help milk the cows and complete his chores before going to school. On his way to school, he would walk uphill, in the snow, sharing one shoe with his brother Ray.  After high school, Forrest worked for the railroad a short period of time, before moving to California to help his parents on their new chicken ranch. During that time, he was drafted into the U.S. Service and served our country proudly. In the U.S. Army, he was stationed overseas with his best friend Paul Amos. In the Army, Forrest traveled across Europe for competitions as a member of the U.S. Army’s rifle team.  Forrest was a marksman who took first place in most events. Through his military adventures, Paul was at his side, causing mischief wherever they went.  After the service, Forrest’s next adventure was as a truck driver; a profession he would end up doing for the majority of his life. Picking up the nickname Mac, he could drive anything on wheels and even some things without!

It was my honor to meet and marry my best friend, partner in crime, and love of my life, Forrest in 1974. After meeting in Florida, we decided to move to Michigan where we lived for a while, but due to God’s plan, we found ourselves moving back to Florida. That move was the best decision we ever made.  We have lived here happily in this community of Brooksville, Florida ever since.

After retiring, Forrest was able to focus on the things that mattered most: his family and preserving his way of life. Mac could never sit still - he always kept busy finding something to do, which usually led him outdoors. He loved being outside, feeling the cool morning breeze in his one hair. You could always find him working in his garden. He would get excited with every new plant that sprouted. Every day you would see him scurrying around, busily tending to all of the plants in his garden, all while wearing that ugly straw hat. He was our Hobbit, our Papa Trees. Keeper of the green thumb, and of all things that grew from the Earth.  He could make anything grow, even things most people believed were already dead - we saw it with our own eyes.  Papa also loved woodworking and could build anything needed, whether it was a shelf, a shed, or my beautiful deck. What he enjoyed crafting most was beautiful gifts for his family and friends - hand-crafted from his heart, he gave his work away freely.

There wasn’t anything that Papa couldn’t do.  If he put his mind to it, he would figure it out. He was the ultimate Jack-of-all-trades.

His biggest love was traveling.  We were so blessed to be able to travel the country for the past two years.  Making memories on the road from Florida, to the top of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, all the way across the United States, to the mountains in California, and home again.  Stopping along the way, we spent time in the moment, looking at all the wonderful things that God created. He loved being in our motor home so much that he was always tinkering on it, and always joked about going to take his nap in it.

Most importantly, he was a great Husband, Father, Papa Trees, and Friend.  You could always go to him for the most honest advice.  Mac, Dad, Papa, was a straight shooter, and told it like it was - whether we wanted to hear it or not. Most of time, Forrest's advice was always on target.

If you look around at the family he has left behind, you will see a reflection of Forrest in each of us.

As we go onward, we will carry on the lessons that Forrest taught us: to be good neighbors, treat one another with respect, and live by his well-known motto of, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT”!

A Visitation for family and friends will be held from 6:00-8:00pm with a Vigil Service beginning at 7:00pm, Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at Merritt Funeral Home, Brooksville Chapel.  A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Anthony the Abbot Catholic Church on Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 11:00am, with Reverend Paul Pecchie officiating.  Burial will follow at Florida National Cemetery with military honors.
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March 3, 2021

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Merritt Funeral Home - Brooksville Chapel
2 South Lemon Avenue
Brooksville, Florida 34601

Funeral Mass
March 4, 2021

11:00 AM
St. Anthony The Abbot Catholic Church
20428 Cortez Boulevard
Brooksville, Florida 34601

March 4, 2021

12:30 PM
Florida National Cemetery
6502 S.W. 102nd Avenue
Bushnell, Florida 33513

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