Published: June 10, 2008
Carl Rodger Brechlin, 53, of Meriden, auctioneer and owner of Nest Egg Auctions, died unexpectedly May 30 while on a river running trip with friends and family members on the Potomac River in Harper’s Ferry, W.Va.
He was born at Meriden Hospital on July 25, 1954, the son of Alfred Earl Brechlin of Meriden and Joyce Eileen (Foster) Brechlin. Growing up in South Meriden, he enjoyed frequent childhood explorations and adventures along the banks of the Quinnipiac River, which inspired a lifelong love of nature and the outdoors. One of his favorite things as a boy was to lie in bed on warm summer evenings and listen to the sounds of freight trains rumbling by in the distance.
He attended Meriden schools and graduated from Platt High School in 1972. It was while he was in high school that he met, courted and won the love of his life, Mary Ellen (Deno). The couple married in 1975 and always lived in Meriden, where they raised four children.
After graduation, Carl began his working life in the warehouse of Ryerson Steel in Wallingford, Conn. He eventually worked his way into the front office and into the corporate world, quickly gaining the real-world experience and market savvy that propelled him up the corporate ladder on his way to becoming the chief financial officer for a variety of Connecticut firms, including SKF Steel, Duamex, an international flower importer, and safety equipment manufacturer Sinco Sala.
A longtime member of the Freemasons, Carl was a three-time Past Master of Meridian Lodge #77 and the Shrine as a member of the Sphinx Temple in Newington, Conn. It was while helping raise funds for Masonic charities that he founded and organized a series of antiques shows that were a fixture for many years during Meriden’s Daffodil Festival in Hubbard Park. The shows were a natural offshoot of Carl and Mary Ellen’s interest in antiques. The couple began buying and selling antiquities as part of their cottage business, Nest Egg Antiques.
Eventually the focus of the business shifted to auctions and the company began operating out of a series of locations in Meriden with family members and close friends comprising most of the staff. Because of the family atmosphere and a belief that auctions should be fun, Nest Egg Auctions quickly attracted a legion of loyal devotees. “It’s auctiontainment,” Carl was fond of saying.
Carl attended advanced auctioneering classes and was a member of the National Auctioneers Association. As a professional auctioneer, he was awarded the honorary title of “colonel,” a historical designation that arose shortly after the Civil War when officers of that rank were assigned the duty of auctioning off surplus military equipment.
It was during a series of corporate buyouts and plant closings several years ago that “Colonel Carl” and the family decided to take the plunge and begin operating Nest Egg Auctions full-time. The company has grown to occupy an 11,000-square-foot gallery on Research Parkway in Meriden. The company’s auctions are frequently aired on local cable television and have also been featured on the network television show Cash in the Attic. After a brief hiatus, the family plans to continue to conduct business as usual.
Carl was predeceased by his son Blake in 2004, his father Al, his grandmother Barbara (Roebuck) Brechlin and grandparents Carl and Patricia Foster. He is survived by his wife of nearly 33 years, Mary Ellen, his mother and stepfather, Joyce and Charles Parmelee of Bar Harbor, Maine, stepmother, Ruth Gregg Brechlin of Durham, his son, Ryan, and companion Christine Johnson of West Hartford, daughter Jennifer Soderberg and husband Adam of Meriden, son Christopher of Meriden and Harold Hedlund of Milford, who Carl considered a son. He is also survived by his twin brother Earl Brechlin, and wife Roxie of Bar Harbor, brother Dale Brechlin and wife Jane of Harper’s Ferry W.Va., sister Barbara Saunders and husband Doug of Rockland Maine, and sister Patricia Lane and husband Gary of Damariscotta, Maine, and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial services were conducted on June 4 at the First United Methodist Church. Donations in Carl’s name may be sent to the Camp Claire Canoe Fund, 62 Colony Street, Meriden CT 06450, or the Shriners Children’s Hospital, 516 Carew Street, Springfield MA 01104.
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