Harold Brey, Sr.

February 26, 1936 - May 6, 2016
Jamestown, MI



Friday, May 13, 2016
9:30 AM to 10:30 AM EDT
St. Sebastian Catholic Church


Friday, May 13, 2016
10:30 AM EDT
St. Sebastian Catholic Church
9408 Wilson Ave SW
Byron Center, MI 49315


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

St. Sebastian Catholic Church Growing in Faith Campaign
9408 Wilson Ave SW
Byron Center, MI 49315


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

River Rose
(269) 692-3951

Plainwell Flowers
117 S. Main
Plainwell, MI 49080
(269) 685-8055
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Harold (Hal) Dean Brey, Sr. was born February 26, 1936 in Detroit, Michigan. He and younger brother Jarl Herman Brey spent the first ten years of his life there. While in Detroit, he attended St. Veronica’s Elementary School where he learned to love Detroit Tigers baseball, Red Wings hockey and most of all, auto racing. Hal often bragged that as a boy, he would ride the bus across town, by himself, to watch many a game at "The Corner" on Michigan and Trumbull Avenue. His father Herman, a successful steel salesman with Peninsular Steel Company, would eventually take the family to Grand Rapids. In 1946, Herman and wife Doris purchased a home at 325 Alger Street in the Garfield Park area for the price of $15,800.

Hal attended St. Francis Xavier Elementary in Grand Rapids and later graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1953. Many of his friendships made there, lasted a lifetime. He would proudly go on to attend the University of Notre Dame, Michigan State and finally graduate from Aquinas College where he would meet and later marry Judy Margrave, of Whitehall, Michigan in 1958. They would have two children together, Harold (Hal) Jr. and Jarl Joseph in the next four years.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Hal also enjoyed a successful career in the steel industry while still enjoying his passion of auto racing. Over the years he would own or sponsor sprint/midget race cars or simply chase down any bit of circle track excitement. Whether it was in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio or anywhere in the Midwest, Hal would follow the sport with passion.

Eventually, he would join brothers Gary and Jarl in the promotional products business which would begin a successful career as a part of Mid America Industries, Specialty Marketing Systems and finally as Brey Promotional. Being the ultimate connector that he was, Hal would soon meet the love of his life, business owner Dorothy (Dottie) VanDenheuvel in Jenison, Michigan and the two would become inseparable in business and in life.

In his later years, Hal would never miss out on any of his grandkid’s activities. He was always their biggest fan and loudest supporter from the sidelines. He took pride in every school that the kids attended making sure to wear the proper school or team color for each kid’s event. From Portage, Michigan to Great Barrington, Massachusetts to Watertown, Connecticut to Lake Forest, Illinois…you could always find “Pa” supporting the kids. Thanks to modern technology, which he did his best to grasp, he was quick to recite any grandkids statistic to do with batting averages, soccer scores or volleyball matches.

His love for St. Sebastian Catholic Church and his faith in God would be the foundation for Hal as he battled prostate cancer during the last four years of his life. Despite the fact that he never let anyone outside the family focus on his illness, his “never give up” attitude was an inspiration to all that knew him. Through the help of Faith Hospice, Hal was making strides to be sure that the last months of his life would be comfortable. His last goal was to see his grandson Charlie and fiancée Lisa, be married in August. Ironically, it would be an extremely unfortunate fall at home and not the cancer that would end his life on May 6th, 2016.

Hal is preceded in death by his younger brother Jarl Herman. He is survived by his brother Gary Brey of Sarasota, Florida, his son Hal Jr. and wife Deb of Portland, Oregon, son Jarl and girlfriend Jane Timmer of Portage and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grandchildren Elyse Brey of Kalamazoo, Charlie Brey and fiancée Lisa Sorensen of Chicago, Illinois, Mackenzie and Parker Brey of Portage, Michigan and many nieces and nephews. Hal is also survived by his long-time companion Dottie VanDenheuvel of Jamestown, Michigan her children, Tim and Marsha Blauwkamp, Anita and Michael Walma, Krista and Taylor Caughron, Dan and Jennifer Blauwkamp and 16 grandchildren.

Visitation will be held Friday, May 13th at 9:30 a.m. at St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church 9408 Wilson Ave SW, Byron Center, Michigan with funeral service immediately following at 10:30 a.m. Lunch will follow service on site with internment at 2:00 p.m. at Resurrection Cemetery, 4100 Clyde Park Ave SW, Wyoming, MI.

Please visit Hal’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his obituary, sign the guestbook, share a memory and/or photo. Those who wish may make a contribution to St. Sebastian Catholic Church for the Growing in Faith Campaign.

The family is being assisted by the Life Story Funeral Home, 120 S. Woodhams, Plainwell, MI (269-685-5881).