POSTED: Monday, January 27, 2014 - 11:56pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 2:10pm
Ben Wheeler, Texas (KETK) — Last night, the city of Ben Wheeler lost a wonderful man, Mr. Brooks Gremmels. He was 70 years old.
Here is a statement sent to us from the City of Ben Wheeler:
Dear Friends of Ben,
It is with heavy hearts we confirm that the man who rebuilt Ben Wheeler, Texas,
Mr. Brooks Gremmels, passed away Sunday night after succumbing to complications from pancreatic cancer.
Gremmels was diagnosed with the disease in April of last year. He was 70 years old.
His wife, Rese Gremmels; daughter Amy Hafele; son-in-law John Hafele; and sister, Cary Gremmels were by his side at the time of his passing
At this time, the family has not yet confirmed memorial service arrangements, but would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of thoughts and prayers.
While they understand Brooks never met a stranger, they affectionately request privacy at this time.
In a community with a thousand or so nearby residents, Ben Wheeler Development Company, LLC (BWDC) and Ben Wheeler Arts & Historic District Foundation (BWA & HDF) a 501 c (3) organization founded by Brooks Gremmels and his wife Rese has resurrected the town with various entertainment porches, new restaurants (including Moore's Store and The Forge Bar & Grill), new shops, an historical chapel and schoolhouse as well as various businesses. A restored downtown park is planned to be part of Ben Wheeler's renewal. Growth and development are ongoing.
Ben Wheeler, named for the first man to carry mail into Van Zandt County, thrived during the late 1800s and early 1900s as families arrived in horse-drawn wagons, rode horses, or walked to visit, get mail, buy supplies, and sell or trade goods at one of the several general stores. The community included churches, barbers, blacksmiths, tailors, saddle and shoe shop, several gins and mills, a bank, the Berry Resort Hotel, boarding houses, a movie theater, lumber yard, a garage with gas pumps- eventually, cafes, a school, and even a college at one time called the Alamo Institute. Ben Wheeler shrank after World War II as many people left for large cities to find work.
Kaci Koviak recently did a special report on Brooks about how he wanted to bring Ben back to Ben Wheeler.
See this special report here: http://www.ketknbc.com/news/special-report-the-man-who-built-ben-wheeler