Catherine A. BrainardSeptember 7, 1931 ~ October 21, 2017 (age 86)
Catherine Arvilla Brainard, of Keewatin Minnesota, died the 21st of October, 2017 at the Ecumen Bethany Community Home in Alexandria. She was 86 years young.
A memorial service will be held at noon on Saturday, December 2nd at Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood, MN. Visitation will be at the funeral home for one hour prior to the service. Lunch will be served following the service with inurnment to be held at the Glenwood Community Cemetery.
Catherine, the daughter of Albert Leroy Brainard and Sarah Avis (Dill) Brainard, was born September 7th, 1931 in Elbow Lake, MN. Albert soon moved his young family to his fathers’ farm outside of Glenwood, MN and this became the home where Cathy grew up. She attended grade school at Minnewaska District #33 and graduated from Glenwood High School in 1950. During high school Cathy was involved in the Girls Athletic Association and the Jean Martin Honor Society. She later graduated with a teaching degree from Moorhead State University. Throughout her career she was a lifelong learner taking courses at the University of Minnesota, Duluth as well as various continuing education classes.
Catherine taught at various locations during her career including Kensington District #27 and the Laverne and Benson MN schools. The majority of her time, however, was spent teaching at Nashwauk-Keewatin District #319 from 1960 till 1993 when she retired. Her time away from the school in Keewatin was often spent with her lifelong friends in activities that included hunting, fishing and snowmobiling. She also enjoyed spending summers at her cabin on Vermont Lake near Parker Prairie, MN.
Cathy taught her students outside of the classroom as well. She often gathered them in her yard for viewing the night sky through her “big” telescope or peering at pond water through a microscope. She was also a firearm and snowmobile safety instructor and was actively involved with the Boy Scouts. Cate also chaperoned her students during various trips including to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York and the Space Needle in Seattle, WA.
Many of Aunt Cathy’s visits to family became teachable moments for her many nieces and nephews. Whether it was educating you about the frog you just caught, the bird that just flew past or when older the importance of daily news and politics nothing was left undiscussed.
Her visits typically included some form of recreation as well. This included snowmobiles, ATV’s, her Sea Doo and Tote Goat. Her adventurous life also found time for motorcycles, boats, a dune buggy and three Chevrolet Corvettes. This all contributed to her image as “Cool Aunt Cathy”.
Then there were always her “you know what we could do with that” projects. Any scrap of metal or glass bottle was a project to be completed. All you have to do is look at her collection of blue telephone line insulators that decorate the deck of her cabin to know everything was a project and nothing was to be wasted, even though the number of unfinished projects often grew faster than she could complete them.
Catherine also enjoyed hunting and fishing with her siblings and time in the garden with her sisters. While on walks through family land Cathy planted many trees, whether from purchased saplings or gathered seeds and acorns. Catherine traveled often with family to see other family, whether a trip to Montana to see cousins or Wisconsin to visit family and attend the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture show in Oshkosh. However sometimes the trips were as simple taking the Lindquist children for a swim after a hot day on the farm, snowmobiling or fishing with the DeMartlaere’s on Lake Ida, a Tote Goat ride through the woods with Jimmy’s kids or just spending time getting to know Aaron’s children.
Catherine will be remembered as a lifelong teacher who saw everyone as a student. She was fiercely independent and lived life on her own terms. Her tenacity was only equaled by her kind and generous heart.
Catherine is survived by her brothers, Charles Clifford Brainard of Starbuck, MN; James Leroy Brainard of Glenwood, MN and brother-in-law, Gene DeMartelaere of Miltona, MN as well as the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of her siblings Aaron, Virgiline, Lulu and James.
Catherine was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Virgiline Mae (Brainard) Lindquist; brother, Aaron David Brainard; sister, Lulu Belle (Brainard) DeMartelaere; sister-in-law, Gloria Joyce Brainard; brother-in-law, Glen Arnold Lindquist; sister-in-law, Julia Cody “Billie” Brainard; niece, Roxanne Vee Brainard; niece, Desiree Sarah Kloos.