Allen Edward Tegtmeier, known affectionately to his friends as Big Al, passed away early in the morning on Thursday, May 5th. After a long struggle with his health, he is finally at peace.
Big Al was a jack of all trades, a true Renaissance-man. He was self-taught, gifted with a brilliant working mind and the ability to tackle a wide range of projects. He felt most at home on the farm with his hands in the soil. Some of his favorite years were spent farming with his family and close friend, Glenn VonBergen. Al was also a proud union man and member of the Operating Engineers Local 150. His proudest years with Local 150 were spent at US Dismantlement as a mechanic.
Big Al had many passions over the years. He loved the outdoors, the West with its wild and untamed beauty, the mountains, model trains, specifically American Flyer, and all things cowboy. After farming, he designed and built a beautiful home from the ground up for his family. He accomplished this with only the help of his father and a few close friends. He was well known in the community for having a beautiful and bountiful garden. Every year, like clockwork, passerbys would pull over to marvel at it, and Big Al would inevitably send them home with an arm full of veggies and hot peppers, although he could rarely convince them to take his habaneros, except for a few brave souls. Al was also passionate about hot rods. He built and restored multiple vintage cars and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Most notably, he created a perfectly-crafted, black ‘55 Chevy. As an imaginative, self-reliant and slightly eccentric man, he fabricated his own log-splitter, all-terrain vehicle, go-cart, and most impressively designed, engineered, and built his own radiant floor heating system for a barn. Later in life, he took up carpentry and woodworking. He crafted lovely furniture and built his own kitchen cabinets. Even with his health problems, he pushed through to begin his ultimate dream of building a hot rod out of a ‘49 Oldsmobile Rocket. His family hopes to achieve this dream in his memory. He was always challenging himself with a new pursuit or project.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 40 years, Mary Brickley, as well as his children, Ashleigh and John Brickley. He is also survived by his sister, Donna Eisman and many nieces and nephews. The family would like to give a special thanks to nephew, Billie Eisman, for all the help and support he gave Al, especially in his final months. He was preceded in death by his mother, Cora Tegtmeier, and his father, Edward Tegtmeier.
To you, Al would want to leave final words of wisdom from his favorite musician, John Prine:
“Blow up your TV
Throw away your paper
Go to the country
Build you a home
Plant a little garden
Eat a lot of peaches
Try an’ find Jesus on your own”
His family knows he is in heaven with his own plot of land doing what he loved most, working with his hands. Though no offense to John Prine, he probably didn’t blow up his TV, because how else would he be able to watch his much loved cowboy channel?
His family will be hosting a celebration of life and pig-roast at the Sportsman’s Club in Harvard, IL on June 18th. All are welcome to join the party.
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to the family, please visit our floral store.