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Marty Brennan, 'Tenacious' Member of Rochester Hills City Council, Dies

"When I think about Marty, I think about the passion and the things he engaged himself in," Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett says.

J. Martin "Marty" Brennan Jr., known for his tenacity and passion as a member of the Rochester Hills City Council, died Friday of complications from cancer treatment, family friends confirmed. He was 58.

"The world has lost a great person," said Linda Davis-Kirksey, a political consultant and grant-writer who considered Brennan one of her closest friends.

She last saw Brennan on Thursday night at Beaumont Hospital in Troy, where she sat by his side and said goodbye.

Funeral services are planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday at SS. Peter & Paul Church in Detroit.

He is survived by his wife, Leta, and their children, Caitlyn and Trip, both graduates of .

Passion and politics

Brennan was elected to City Council in 2007; he served District 2, which is the northeast corner of the city.

He was diagnosed with cancer shortly before the filing deadline in the spring and decided not to seek re-election.

Brennan spoke during City Council meetings with a positive outlook about his diagnosis, first with prostate cancer and then, later, with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

At one of the last meetings he attended in September, Brennan showed off his balding head (the result of chemotherapy) from beneath a baseball cap; to support him, his colleagues on City Council and members of city staff wore hats to that meeting, too.

"When I think about Marty, I think about the passion and the things he engaged himself in," said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett. "He would jump in with everything he had to debate fiercely any issue he felt passionate about."

Barnett and City Council President Greg Hooper also visited Brennan in the hospital on Thursday night.

"I don't know if he knew we were there; he didn't respond, but we prayed with him and told him we loved him like a brother," Barnett said.

"We're going to miss him."

Barnett expressed his condolences for Brennan's family on behalf of the entire city staff.

Brennan's son, Trip, was a member of Rochester Hills Government Youth Council for the 2010-11 school year; Trip Brennan spoke often of his respect for his dad on City Council and in local political circles.

'He was a spitfire'

Politics is how Brennan and Davis-Kirksey met 18 years ago. Brennan was an active member of the Democratic Party.

"Being a Rochester resident, that's a rarity," Davis-Kirksey said.

She called him a tenacious man who loved politics and a good debate.

"He was a spitfire," she said. "He was truly a man who cared about his community. He worked for social justice."

Brennan was once a nominee for the Michigan Supreme Court. He was a trial lawyer; according to his bio on the American Settlement Centers website, his clients have included the state of Michigan, where he was special assistant to the attorney general, and the city of Fraser.

Davis-Kirksey said Brennan's legacy would be one of honesty and conviction.

"He was always true to himself and what his beliefs were," she said. "If every politician could learn a lesson from Marty Brennan, it would be to remind themselves of that.

"We would find a greater breed of politicians if they would follow his lead."

Erin October 07, 2011 at 08:32 PM
So very sad to hear this news. I didn’t always agree with him on Council issues, but I appreciated his service and he seemed like a nice person and a great dad. Sending my thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. Rest in peace Mr. Brennan.
laurie puscas October 07, 2011 at 08:36 PM
I am sorry to hear of Marty’s passing and offer my profound sympathy to his wife Leta and their children. My husband and I have known Marty for more than 20 years. He was deeply committed to both his family and community.
Bonnie Kilberg October 07, 2011 at 09:29 PM
Marty Brennan supported my son Sam in everything he did. He convinced Sam he was meant to study law at 16. He was a good man, terrific father and husband, funny, passionate and intelligent. I know there are three young adults who will make the world a better place because they knew him. his children Trip and Caitlyn and my son Sam....they were lucky to have him but I am sure he will still guide them.....our love and prayers we will miss you
Terry October 07, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Tragic events like these have a way of putting life into perspective. We often get so involved in debating the issues of the day, we forget what is really important. I respect the passionate way he approached life and for what he gave back to the community. Best wishes to his family.
Amanda Crowell Itliong October 07, 2011 at 10:56 PM
It's very sad to hear of the loss of a passionate local leader! "Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like." -Francois de La Rochefoucauld We appreciate his dedication to our community and his good has surely inspired and produced good in others! That's quite a legacy!
Barbara Holder October 08, 2011 at 03:15 AM
We just recently became aware that Marty was ill and today we learned he has passed. Such a loss to his family and friends at such a prime age. We truly hope that his passing is beautiful and filled with endless peace.
Scot Beaton October 08, 2011 at 06:29 AM
I was saddened to hear about Marty losing his battle with cancer. He was a dedicated leader and loved the city. On behalf of myself and my family, I send our condolences to his wife and children.
thomas October 08, 2011 at 07:38 PM
We are sadened by news of Marty's passing. He was like family to so many of us. Tom & Becky Lash
State Senator Steven Bieda October 08, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Very saddened to hear of Marty's passing. He was a good man, and a dedicated public servant. My sympathy to his family and all those he touched in his productive life.
Jack Dolan October 09, 2011 at 07:15 PM
I had the privilidge of knowing Marty for decades as we both practiced law in Macomb County. As many others have said he was caring and passionate as well as a very skillful attorney. He also was courageous and resilient. I just recently saw him in Oakland Circuit Court where he as always was advocating for his client undistracted by the medical burdens he was shouldering.I walked out of Court that day with a smile and even more respect. Jack Dolan
Gary Uhl October 10, 2011 at 12:45 AM
I thank Marty for his service to the City, and for passing that passion on to Trip. I had hoped that the treatments were working. Our condolences go out to his family.
Beverly Huard October 22, 2011 at 03:02 AM
We were so sorry to hear about Marty's death. Our heartfelt sympathy to Leta, Trip and Caitlin. With compassion, Bev & Denny Huard

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