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Now browsing: Hometown News > News > St. Lucie County

Community loses longtime businessman
Rating: 1.65 / 5 (34 votes)  
Posted: 2014 Feb 14 - 07:08

For Hometown News

ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- E. Brett Culpepper, 65, of Port St. Lucie, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.

He was born in St. Petersburg on Dec.25, 1948, to the late Robert and Blanche Culpepper. Brett graduated from St. Petersburg High School and received a degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida in 1971. He married Judy Flowers Culpepper the following year on Sept. 23, 1972 and moved to Fort Pierce to begin his engineering career.

Brett was a professional engineer and professional land surveyor who began his career locally as an associate of Wood, Beard and Associates in 1972. In 1975 Brett with two other partners bought Wood, Beard and Associates and formed CFS and Associates, consulting engineers and land surveyors.

In the beginning, much of Brett's work was in Palm Beach County the most recognizable of which today is the city of Royal Palm Beach. Early projects in St. Lucie County included Ocean Village on Fort Pierce's south beach as well as all five of the Spanish Lakes communities. Working in conjunction with Stebbins and Scott architectural firm, Brett was also responsible for the civil engineering of several school construction projects in St. Lucie County.

The firm continued to grow in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Then, after talking at a UF alumnae gathering in 1985, he and Butch Terpening decided to merge their firms and become Culpepper and Terpening.

Culpepper and Terpening continued to grow and prosper while changing the face of the Treasure Coast in the process. Culpepper and Terpening currently employs 40 people and serves 17 to 20 governments in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties. .

In the 1990s, the firm helped expand Port St. Lucie's water and sewer system, an $81 million project that provides more than 820 miles of potable water and sewer installation that helped stimulate the city's unprecedented growth in the last decade.

"Brett Culpepper and his namesake firm played an important role in Port St. Lucie's water and sewer expansion program in the 1990s," said Donna Rhoden, public information manager in the city's Utility Systems Department. "His contributions helped the utility become one of the best in Florida."

Parkinson's disease forced Brett to resign from his company in 1999.

He was also a director of the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce GO Team, the predecessor of the Economic Development Council. Brett enjoyed golf, bridge, and Florida football. As an avid Florida fan, his love of the university was immortalized in the bricks of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Brett leaves behind his wife of more than 41 years, Judy Culpepper, a former St. Lucie County Commissioner. He is survived by his three daughters and their spouses: Ceci and Nate Berman of Tampa; Kelly and Chris Bender of Plano, Texas; and Wendy Culpepper and Eric Mondschein of Tampa. Brett is also survived by four grandchildren: Presley and Heath Berman, and Katarina and Ava Bender.

For almost 26 years, Brett battled Parkinson's disease and lost that fight on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. He would have appreciated very much anyone willing to help in the fight against Parkinson's disease. Donations made to the Neuro Challenge Foundation, 4411 Bee Ridge Road # 246, Sarasota, FL, 34233 enable care advisors to offer free individualized guidance to PD patients.

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