Herbert Orion Brickson, born August 31,1929, USN retired JAGC officer, Rotarian, and father of six, died peacefully in his sleep at the home of Tad and Lorena Brickson on November 4, 2020, in Hoover, Alabama. He is survived by his sister Sylvia Soldo and his six children: Genevieve Kearse, Bridget Ardoin, Herbert Brickson, Jr (Tad), Kathleen Flynn, Katherine Juneau, Peter Moran. In addition he leaves behind twenty-one grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren.
Herb was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the second of three children of Herbert O. Brickson, Sr., and Anna Lohbauer Brickson. His was a tight knit and loving family with Gordon as his older brother and Sylvia his younger sister. With his father an Army colonel in Patton’s Third Army during WWII, Herb attended a variety of schools, graduating from high school from Central Catholic High School in San Antonio in 1946. The family then received transportation authorization to join Colonel H.O. Brickson in Munich, Germany. Herb thoroughly took advantage of post-war Europe and traveled extensively with his family enjoying skiing in the Alps and swimming in France among other things.
In 1948 Herb and his older brother Gordon returned to the United States to attend college. Herb enrolled at the University of Texas for his first year, then transferred to the University of Wisconsin Madison, joined the NROTC program, as well as the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 1951 he embarked on his NROTC midshipman cruise on board the USS Missouri (BB-62). In June, 1952, he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Russian and was commissioned Ensign, USNR. He would go on to serve on the USS Enoree (TAO-69), and the USS LST 344 before being released in June of 1954.
In September of 1954 Herb enrolled in law school at the University of Wisconsin where he discovered his friend, John Keck, had a sister, Barbara, who was enrolled there as well. They had met at a Sigma Chi function during their undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1949 where she knew him as Tex. Approximately a year later, August 27, 1955, they would marry in Westport, Wisconsin. In February, 1958, he was awarded a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree and was admitted to practice law by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. He made a foray into private practice in Milwaukee, practicing general law from 1958 to 1961.
With a growing family to support - by this time they had welcomed Gena in 1956, Bridget in 1958, and Tad in 1960 - he and Barbara thought it prudent and made a decision to reactivate his service in the Navy. They relocated the family and he reported for duty on the Staff of Commander U.S. Naval Forces Philippines (COMNAVPHIL) in February 1962. Shortly after, their youngest child, Katy, was born.
Herb truly enjoyed his time overseas and developed many friendships with the local Filipinos. He and Barbara made the time to travel and explore the area, as well as maintaining many on-base activities like tennis and swimming. After a brief stint at the Pentagon in 1966-67, they returned to the Philippines in May of 1967. It was not long after that - October 1, 1967 - he and Barbara were in a tragic car accident that took the life of Barbara and severely injured Herb. He spent nearly the next year recovering at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while his children were taken care of by his parents and sister Sylvia in Miami, Florida.
During his recovery he renewed his acquaintance with Audree Moran, whom he had met along with her husband Kenneth Moran while they were all stationed in the Philippines. She had lost her husband during the early stages of the Vietnam war. In May of 1968 Herb had recovered from his injuries sufficiently and received orders - at his request - to return to the U.S. Naval Station, Subic Bay, Philippines. Audree visited during a personal world tour, romance blossomed, and they decided to merge their two families. On November 22,1969, they were married at the Chapel, NAS Cubi Point, Philippines. Audree’s two children, Kathy and Peter Moran, blended in and a family of eight was created.
Herb was stationed in the Philippines for a couple of years and the new family enjoyed many adventures there, exploring what the country had to offer, such as snorkeling, jungle survival tours, and visits to the San Miguel brewery. In June of 1971 he received orders to report to the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California, for duty. From the tropics to the desert, the family made the move and made the most of what the desert area had to offer: from climbing Mt Whitney to exploring the petroglyphs and Death Valley.
It was here in China Lake in 1972 that Herb joined the Rotary Club. This would be the beginning of a long and dedicated membership, serving as President of the Rotary Club of China Lake, receiving the Paul Fellows Award, as well as serving as President and then District Governor in years to come in New Orleans. He would remain an active member throughout the rest of his life.
In June of 1974 Herb received orders to report to the Chief of Naval Reserve, New Orleans, Louisiana, for duty as the Staff Judge Advocate. It was to be the family’s final military move. In April, 1981 he retired ending a U.S. Navy career that spanned thirty years.
He went on to achieve a Masters Degree in Admiralty Law from Tulane University and practiced admiralty law in New Orleans after his retirement from the Navy. It wasn’t until the year 2005 that one could say he moved into ‘real’ retirement. After Hurricane Katrina he and Audree made the move to Herndon, Virginia. There they enjoyed being close to family for many years.
In July of 2019, Audree passed away and Herb moved to Hoover, Alabama, where he lived out his final days surrounded by his loving family. It would be safe to say that Herb was the quintessential ‘bon vivant’. Always gregarious, always ready with a smile and a joke, he embraced life and the challenges that came his way with determination and perseverance. His bold and courageous approach to life will be missed by many.
A funeral mass will be performed on December 4, 2020, at 1 P.M. in Hoover, Alabama at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic church. A further memorial service will be held in the spring 2021 when his ashes will be interred at Quantico National Cemetery in Quantico, Virginia.
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