Paul E. Brill of Terre Haute passed away on March 19, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was born on March 15, 1931, in Terre Haute, to Ralph Brill Sr. and Eunice Roberts Brill.
In 1948, he graduated from Garfield High School and then earned his bachelor of science degree from Indiana State University. Later, he obtained a master's degree from Wayne University in Detroit, Mich., and then returned to Terre Haute, where he taught at Garfield High School until he obtained his position with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In 1995, he earned the Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana State University, recognizing his lifetime work with the Native American Indians.
In 2016, he donated his Native American genealogy research and artifacts to the Nebraska Indian Community College, which plans to establish a tribal archives classroom as part of the new addition being built in his honor at the Nebraska Indian Community College.
To culminate his career, he was nominated in 2016 for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of 59½ years, Marjorie Gruenholz Brill; his parents; sisters, Mary Hiles Harris and Dorothy McNary; brother, Robert Brill; daughter-in-law, Trixy Swearingen Brill; and infant great-grandson, Matthew Howell.
Survivors include his son, Jeffrey P. Brill (Lori) of Coatesville, Ind.; and daughters, Julie D. Denny (Jack) and Lori Y. Lee (Sammy), both of Terre Haute, and Denise M. Brill of Nashville, Tenn.
Paul was also survived by 11 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren; as well as his brother, Ralph Brill Jr. (Virginia) of Terre Haute; brother-in-law, William Andrew Gruenholz (Emmy) of Los Altos Hills, Calif.; and sister-in-law, Janet Martin (James) of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; and a host of nieces and nephews.
According to his wishes, a private church service will be held for his family. A celebration of life is planned at Cobblestone Crossing Clubhouse, 7020 Clubhouse Lane, Terre Haute, Ind., from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 7. Simple Cremations and Burials has been entrusted with the arrangements.
As an adopted member of the Omaha Indian Tribe, E'sta mah'za (Iron Eye), Paul's given Indian name, will be laid to rest in Nebraska.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either Farmers Chapel Community Church, 9213 S. Sullivan Place, Terre Haute, IN 47802; or Nebraska Indian Community College, Attn: Paul Brill Memorial, 1111 Highway 75, P.O. Box 428, Macy, NE 68039.
The family members wish to express their appreciation to Regional Hospital, Cobblestone Crossing Health Campus and Heart to Heart Hospice for their care and compassion during Paul's sudden illness.
Published on April 4, 2017