Howard Speicher Brembeck, influential business leader and philanthropist from northern Indiana, passed away on Dec. 5, 2010, at Goshen General Hospital.
Brembeck, 100, was a world leader and innovator in the manufacture of agricultural equipment. He founded and was chief executive of CTB. Inc. He founded the Fourth Freedom Forum and the Oakwood Christian Academy and authored several books. He built and supported the Oakwood Inn in Syracuse. He contributed generously to church and Christian educational institutions.
Brembeck was born Feb. 9, 1910 in Wabash to Paul and Hulda (Speicher) Brembeck. He and his siblings, Winston, Cole, Paul "Bud," and Ardis were raised in Urbana. Brembeck married Myra Katherine Bates at her parents’ home in 1933. She passed away March 28, 2001. Brembeck’s father owned a hardware store in Urbana and served as a State Representative in the Indiana legislature.
Brembeck graduated from Urbana High School in 1928 and briefly attended the University of Chicago before being called home to help the family during the Great Depression.
In the 1930s Howard worked at the Cyclone Manufacturing Company in Urbana. He owned and operated the Snack Harbor drive-in restaurant in Peru with his wife Myra. In 1944 he and his family moved to Alliance, Ohio, where he worked for United Cooperatives until 1952. He traveled the country selling agricultural equipment and before long became the company’s most successful salesman.
In 1952 Brembeck decided to form his own manufacturing business. In describing that decision he wrote in his memoir about awakening "in the darkness of early morning," driven "in a very powerful and personal way" to start a business. . . . "I felt compelled to take action. . . It was almost as if I didn’t have any choice in the matter." That manner of acting intuitively out of a sense of mission characterized many of Brembeck’s business and philanthropic decisions.