Mr. Briese was born Feb. 16, 1929, in Hazelton, Pa. He was the son of the late Mabel Young and Charles Briese.
Mr. Briese graduated from Hazelton Senior High School in 1947. He served his country in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1960, and was in-country during the Korean conflict. He was especially proud to have his wife, Josephine’s name emblazed on his aircraft, a Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star. He went on to serve his country after active duty in the Georgia Air National Guard until 1969, ending his military career as having been a crew chief, a flight chief and a master sergeant.
During his early time in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Briese found the love of his life, Miss Josephine Ellen Gooding. They became man and wife Aug. 11, 1952, in Kingsland. Together they traveled to various military bases and later settled in Woodbine, where he ran the local Gulf Gas & Service Station, and she taught in the local school system. Mrs. Briese passed away in 2010.
Mr. Briese was proud of his military accomplishments, but also of his involvement with the Boy Scouts, earning a Scouters Key Award and of being a member of the Order of the Arrow. He was also a past Master Mason and belonged to Lodge 326 in Woodbine. He is best known for his love of firefighters everywhere, both locally and globally. After he closed his Gulf station, Mr. Briese converted it into the Woodbine International Fire Museum, where it houses collections of firefighting equipment from the Revolution to the present and from all over the world.
The roster of the many hats Mr. Briese has worn include firefighter, military man, aircraft mechanic, painter, hex sign artist, postal worker, salesman, service station manager, auto mechanic, fire extinguisher specialist, motorcycle rider, flyer, traveler, Girl and Boy Scout leader, deputy sheriff, philanthropist, mentor and friend. It was said that Windy was a force to be reckoned with. He has been a fixture in Woodbine for many years and he will be greatly missed.
Mr. Briese is survived by his brother, George (Doris) Briese of Castle Rock, Colo.; his nephews, Garry (Roni) Briese of Castle Rock and Shawn (April) Briese of Ormond Beach, Fla.; and his espoused children, Lannie (Jan) Brant and Cindy (Shane) Kennedy, all of White Oak.
A visitation was held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, at Coastal Camden Funeral Home in Kingsland. Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 9, at Woodbine United Methodist Church in Woodbine, with Pastor Tom Dent presiding.
Pallbearers were the Southeast Georgia Firefighters Honor Guard made up of Camden County, Kingsland and St. Marys Firefighters. Interment followed in Homeward Cemetery in Waverly, with Firefighter honors rendered.
Memorial donations may be made to the IAFF Fallen firefighter Memorial, 1750 New York Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20006 (202-824-8639 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Coastal Camden Funeral Home in Kingsland is entrusted with Mr. Briese’s arrangements.