Billy Brauer

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Billy D. Brauer, 87, of Smithton, IL, formerly of Belleville, IL, born August 24, 1934, in Belleville, IL, died Tuesday, March 8, 2022, at Mercy Hospice South – de Greeff Hospice House, St. Louis, MO.

Bill was a loving husband of 66 years, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He graduated from Belleville West High School where he ran track; finishing first in state high hurdles. Prior to Covid, the graduating class met for monthly lunches; Bill helped coordinate a number of reunions. He spent the majority of his career in retail, starting with Kaufmanns Grocery. When he first married his high school sweetheart, Betty Baechle, he worked at the A&P Grocery, Gasen’s/Super X Drug Store, the Rust Construction Company and as a bus driver for St. Clair Associated Vocational Enterprises (SAVE). Bill also did bookkeeping for Brunsmann Heating and Cooling.

Known as “Bingo Bill,” he was an active bingo caller for:  PSOP, Saint Teresa Catholic Church in Belleville, the C K &L of I in Belleville, Saint John the Baptist, and the Smithton Senior Center.

He was an active blood/platelet donor for decades. He was active in a variety of parish organizations at both Saint Teresa and Saint John the Baptist, including men’s club, Knights of Columbus, and former trustee of St. Teresa. He was a former member and past president of the Little Knights football club in Belleville where he also announced games.

In retirement, he and Betty managed reservations for the Smithton Senior Center. Bill was Santa for his grandchildren and great grandchildren, the Smithton Firemen, PSOP, the Senior Center, Mayor Kern’s annual toy drive, and a variety of family and friends. In 2013, he was awarded the Hall of Fame Award for a lifetime of outstanding service to the community of Smithton.

Bill was preceded in death by a son, Bruce A. Brauer; his parents, George and Lillian, nee Felts, Brauer; seven brothers, and three sisters.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Betty J., nee Baechle, Brauer, whom he married on April 23, 1955;
a daughter, Brenda (Michael) Dinges of Arnold, MO;
two sons, Robert (Judy) Brauer of Belleville, IL, and Bradley (Linda) Brauer of St. Louis, MO;
six grandchildren, Ryan Brauer of Belleville, IL, Casey (Steve Faust) of St. Louis, MO, Aaron (Casey) Brauer of O’Fallon, IL, Drew Dinges (Jared Earnhart) of St Louis, MO, Austin (Caitlin) Brauer of Fenton, MO, and Anne Catherine Brauer of Ballwin, MO;
six great grandchildren, James, Morgan, Abigail, and Brody Brauer, and Genevieve and Amelia Faust;
a sister, Marilyn Ackerman of Swansea, IL;
three sisters-in-law, Dorothy Brauer of St. Joseph, MO, Carol Brauer of Belleville, IL, and Sue Frazier of St. Louis MO;
many nieces and nephews;
and many friends.

Memorials may be made to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church or School, Smithton, IL, or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation:  Friends may visit from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, 2022, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, and from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 19, 2022, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Smithton, IL.

Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 19, 2022, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Smithton, IL, with Fr. Stanley Konieczny officiating.

Burial will be at Green Mount Catholic Cemetery, Belleville, IL.


35 Comments on Billy Brauer

Patty Koderhandt said : Guest Report Mar 23, 2022 at 9:42 AM

Sorry Brenda that I missed your father's passing. I would have enjoyed seeing you and all the brothers. Please pass my condolences to your mom for me. God Bless you all

  • Belleville
  • Il
Jim Cange said : Guest Report Mar 19, 2022 at 11:09 AM

Carol and I are so sorry to learn of Bill's passing. Bill and I worked at the drug store during the same time. We had our card club and we enjoyed great times. My mother said he was the best bingo caller she knew and she was present at many of these events. Our thoughts and prayers for all. RIP, Bill

  • Nashville
  • Il
Tom & Bonnie Schanherr said : Guest Report Mar 19, 2022 at 9:03 AM

To Betty and family, Our deepest sympathy. We will miss all Bill’s funny jokes and when he played Santa for all of us.

  • Smithton
  • Il
Karen Ernst said : Guest Report Mar 18, 2022 at 7:57 PM

Prayers to Bill’s wife Betty and the entire family. Those we love and lost are never far from us, as the live forever in our hearts and the fond memories we have of them.

  • Festus
  • Mo
Hans and Carol Schwan said : Guest Report Mar 18, 2022 at 7:19 PM

Betty. So sorry to hear about Bill He was such a wonderful person and will be sadly missed by many. Our whole family have you and yours on our thoughts and prayers

  • Belleville
  • Il
Ila Lopez said : Guest Report Mar 18, 2022 at 10:24 AM

I first met Bill in 1996 and I don't think I ever saw him without a smile and a corny joke. You could tell how much he enjoyed playing Santa and had a way of making everyone feel special. RIP Bill

  • Belleville
  • IL
Charles and Sandy Raban said : Guest Report Mar 17, 2022 at 9:51 PM

We are so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. Such a good friend through the years. We always enjoyed the emcee job he did at class reunions. His presence at class breakfasts made them especially enjoyable.

  • Marissa
  • IL
Don and Patty Schmeder said : Guest Report Mar 13, 2022 at 10:23 PM

It is with a heavy heart Don and I have Bill in our thoughts. Don knew Bill as a young man and I knew Betty in High School. Meeting again as neighbors was a treat. Bill was the Santa for many years for the Heartlink children Grief Center, Belleville, IL. Their Christmas party was at the Fairview Fire House. Bill being the Santa Claus made all of us happy. He will be missed and never forgotten.

  • O Fallon
  • Illinois
Allen & Dora Garland said : Guest Report Mar 13, 2022 at 4:40 PM

Betty and family; Allen and I are so sorry to hear of Bills passing. We haven't been Betty and Bill's new neighbors long. but long enough to enjoy Bill's humor and friendliness. Betty and family, we extend our sincere sympathy, and pray for God's peace and love to give you comfort. 💕 Allen & Dora

  • Smithton
  • IL
Kathy Rasp said : Guest Report Mar 13, 2022 at 2:39 PM

Mrs. Brauer & Family, *Thinking of you *Saying a Prayer *Sending Hugs I’m so glad I had the pleasure to hear his “joke of the evening” at the SAVE Bingos. He was a character.... Kathy Rasp

  • Belleville
  • IL said : Guest Report Mar 13, 2022 at 9:53 AM

Mrs Brauer so sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers to your family.

  • Belleville
  • Il
Gloria and Bob said : Guest Report Mar 12, 2022 at 2:56 PM

Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Bill was one of a kind. Always smiling and friendly, and those crazy jokes. I remember when he came to our house in Autumn Ridge when I was having my Christmas cookie party and surprised the heck out of us dressed as Santa. We all loved that.

  • Smithton
  • Il
Bill Shambro said : Guest Report Mar 11, 2022 at 4:00 PM

Betty and family: sympathy to the Family. I personally have memories with Bill from calling bingo numbers both at St. Theresa' s for 13 years and then at PSOP. Bill and I played on the same soft ball team at church. He loved sliding into the bases - even first base. May he rest in peace!

  • Belleville
  • Il.
Anthony Lindhorst said : Guest Report Mar 11, 2022 at 7:35 AM

My Grandmother and I lived next door to Bill and Betty for 15 or 16 years. Bill always smiled and greeted people with respect, even if they didn't deserve it. Anything he could help you with in life, he would without hesitation. I cried when I heard of his passing and will be missed.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Marcella Stauder said : Guest Report Mar 10, 2022 at 12:53 PM

Dear Betty and family, We have many wonderful memories of Billy through the years. He will definitely be missed! Blessings and love from the Baechle and Becherer families.

  • Swansea
  • IL
Mark Forcade said : Guest Report Mar 10, 2022 at 11:56 AM

I was very sorry to hear of Bill’ passing. He would stop by my office and have a good talk and tell a good joke before he headed out. He was a good man. My prayers are with you

  • Smithton
  • Il
Smithton Public Library said : Guest Report Mar 10, 2022 at 11:39 AM

The Smithton Library will miss our wonderful visits from "Santa"! The kids were always excited to see him here. We'll also miss all those Bill Brauer jokes told with that Bill Brauer smile!

  • Smithton
  • IL
Susan Pflug said : Guest Report Mar 10, 2022 at 9:10 AM

In Heaven right now, Bill is calling a Bingo game and telling some wonderful stories in between games. Such a great man and storyteller! He would end every conversation with me by saying “I’m glad you got to see me” and I always was. Sending condolences to the family.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Angie (Kiehl) Garrett said : Guest Report Mar 10, 2022 at 7:02 AM

Mrs. Brauer, Brenda, Bob, Brad and family, please accept my sincere condolences on the death of your dearly loved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and father-in-law. Upon learning of Mr. Brauer's passing I've spent time remembering the wonderful childhood days growing up on N. Church much of it Brenda and I spending time together at each other's homes. So many fond memories of sleepovers, after school playtime and even St. Teresa church and school activities. Memories of childhood on N. Church would not be complete without your family in the picture. Thanks to your entire family for always being so welcoming to visit, play and share childhood memories. Take solace that Mr. Brauer has gone home to eternal rest with Our Father and is reunited with Bruce where one day, we all will rejoice in the arms of Our Lord in Heaven. Sincerely, Angie (Kiehl) Garrett

  • Frisco
  • TX
Mary Murphy said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 10:03 PM

Brenda, so sorry to hear about your dad's passing.. Will be praying for him and your family

  • MO
Joe Huling said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 7:57 PM

I’m so sorry to hear about Bill. He was such a kind man. The thoughtful visits that you and Bill made to see my mom always made her day.

  • Georgetown
  • Texas
Loyce Williams said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 7:36 PM

Personally, I never heard Bill talk badly of anyone. On the contrary, he could talk for hours with jokes and hilarity. He'll be a hoot in heaven.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Rose MERTENS said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 3:21 PM

Betty, so sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family

  • Illinois
Carol Honer said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 12:22 PM

Uncle Bill "Thank you for the memories" You will be missed! Love, Carol

  • Belleville
  • IL
Karthik Ravada said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 11:27 AM

Bob and family, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Praying for comfort and peace for all of you

Karla Lippert said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 11:01 AM

To know Bill was to love him. He was such a blessing to all of his friends and organization. He will be missed so much. My thoughts and prayers are with Better and family. May your memories and faith give you comfort and peace

  • Smithton
  • Illinois
The Zera Family said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 9:59 AM

May the joy of your memories bring you comfort and peace.

  • MO
Kathy (Kiehl) Clanfield said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 9:54 AM

Mrs. Brauer, Brenda, Bob, and Brad, My deepest sympathy at the loss of your beloved husband and father. I have very happy memories of the times Angie and I spent at your house on Church Street. May your happy family memories, and knowing that Mr. Brauer is reunited with Bruce, give you comfort during this difficult time. Love, Kathy

  • Lake Geneva
  • WI said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 7:19 AM

Brenda and family I’m so very sorry for your loss. Praying for comfort and peace for all of you.

  • Fenton
  • Mo
Joanne cullen said : Guest Report Mar 09, 2022 at 4:33 AM

So sorry to hear about his passing… he was a very nice man and loved his family… condolences to you and your family ❤️

  • Collinsville
  • Illinois
Janet Baechle said : Guest Report Mar 08, 2022 at 10:00 PM

Oh, Bill, all of us at the Smithton Senior Center will miss your jokes and hilarity, at Christmas and throughout all the year. Rest In Peace, Bill. Father God, be with Betty and Bill’s family during this time.

  • Freeburg
  • IL
Megan kolley said : Guest Report Mar 08, 2022 at 9:12 PM

I'm very sorry for your loss and I'll pray for your family

  • St.louis
  • Missouri
Kathy Chadbourne said : Guest Report Mar 08, 2022 at 8:28 PM

I am so sorry for your loss Brenda. My condolences to you and your family.

  • Annapolis
  • Missouri
Judy and Odell said : Guest Report Mar 08, 2022 at 5:49 PM

We will miss playing cards and listening to Bill’s stories. We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Betty and her family.

  • Smithton
  • ILL
Wayne Hartmann said : Guest Report Mar 08, 2022 at 4:11 PM

We are so sorry for your loss he will be missed greatly he was one of my favorite uncle's with love Wayne and Tina

  • N.ft.myers
  • Fl

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