Lavern “Vern” G. Holtgrave

Lavern “Vern” G. Holtgrave, 80, of Breese, passed away on Monday, May 08, 2023, at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon. Vern was born on October 18, 1942 to the late Alphonse and the late Clara (nee Hollenkamp) Holtgrave.

Vern was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Margaret “Peggy” Holtgrave (nee Brassel) whom he married April 18, 1964; twin brothers, Alphons and Arthur in infancy; sister, Joan Lehrter; in-laws, Hildegard (nee Orf) and Sonny Brassel, Betty Holtgrave, Dan Jansen, Luke and Jean Brassel, Kenneth “Butch” and Laura Kellermann, Danny and Rose Brassel, George and Sandra Kreiter, and William Vaughn. Vern is survived by his loving children, Cori Brueggemann (Brian) of Breese and Staci Mollett (Duane) of Coffeen; his grandchildren, Maggie Brueggemann, Anna Freeman (Kate), Tyler Cooper (Jamie), Colby Cooper (Tara), and Kerriann Reeder (Nick); great-grandchildren, Jase, Mason, Maebry, Brecklyn, and Dax Cooper, and Lilly and Cooper Reeder; his siblings, Marilyn Fitzgerald, Robert Holtgrave, and Lou Jansen; and sister-in-law, Colleen Vaughn. He is also survived by his companion, Elaine Holtgrave, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and many great friends.

Vern played professional baseball with the Detroit Tigers organization for 6 years, until an arm injury ended his professional baseball career. He made one appearance in a Major League game – long enough for a “cup of coffee,” as he would say — but enjoyed a successful minor-league career with a 3.30 ERA and made many lifelong friends in baseball. After baseball, Vern had successful careers in sales, truck-driving, and as a security guard at Kaskaskia College.

Vern served on the Clinton County Board for 20 years, from Dec. 1, 1998, to Nov. 30, 2018. He took great pride in working for his constituents and serving as their voice in county government.

Vern was very outgoing and enjoyed golfing, especially his Tuesday golf games, playing cards, listening to live music, and dancing. He enjoyed sharing jokes and making people laugh. He did not know a stranger and always had a smile on his face. But what he adored most was spending time with his family. Vern was so loved and will be greatly missed.

Memorial Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13, 2023 at Nordike Funeral Home in Breese with Deacon Linus Kostermann officiating. Burial will follow at St. Dominic/St. Augustine Cemetery in Breese.

Visitation will be held Friday, May 12, 2023 from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. and again on Saturday, May 13, 2023 from 8 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. at Nordike Funeral Home in Breese.

Memorials may be made to the Montgomery County Breast Cancer Association and will be received at the funeral home.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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