Evans City Homebuilder Had Thirst for Knowledge, Travel

By Wills, Rick | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 30, 2011 | Go to article overview

Evans City Homebuilder Had Thirst for Knowledge, Travel


Wills, Rick, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


There are few homebuilders who know as much as their subcontractors do. Ken Brennan came close.

"There was nothing about building a home that he did not know. He knew masonry, plumbing and carpentry. He studied electrical engineering and was a self-taught architect. He even knew about landscaping," said Mr. Brennan's wife of 53 years, Patricia L. Brennan.

Kenneth C. Brennan of Evans City, who started building homes before he was old enough to drive, died of cancer on Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, in Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida. He was 74.

Starting at 14, Mr. Brennan learned masonry, plumbing and carpentry from his uncle, Lou Jakovac. After graduating from Wilkinsburg High School -- and while an engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh -- he became a master plumber and managed a growing business.

At the age of 18, Mr. Brennan became a licensed pilot.

Born Sept. 7, 1937, to Kenneth G. and Anna J. Brennan, Mr. Brennan grew up in Wilkinsburg and founded his company when he was 19, in 1956. Based in Evans City, today Brennan Builders Inc. is run by his son, Robert Brennan.

Each of the thousands of homes the company has built is individually designed, the younger Brennan said.

"Real estate ads often say that a home for sale is a Brennan- built home. That's a point of pride for us," said Brennan, who took over the family business eight years ago after leaving the engineering research faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and working for a high-tech startup. …

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