John Ryburn Brainard passed away Oct. 22, 2011, at the Plaza West Rehabilitation Center in Sun City Center, Fla. He was born Aug. 5, 1923 to Margaret and Stuart Brainard in Anselmo. John and his siblings - Elizabeth, Lorene, Robert, Willa Mae, Beverly, and Richard - lived in the Anselmo and Milburn areas. John graduated from Milburn High School, then entered St. John's Seminary in Little Rock, Ark., where he studied for 1 1/2 years.
December 17, 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served proudly until his discharge Feb. 22, 1945. During his enlistment, he served in the 1st Marine Paratrooper Battalion and in Edson's 1st Raider Battalion. These units played a decisive role in the invasion and control of Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific theater of action during WWII.
In 1946 he married Janice Marie Roos and they had two children, Diana and Roger. They lived the next several years in Anselmo, moving to Broken Bow in 1960.
While in Anselmo, John managed the local grain elevator, but was also a cattle rancher and farmer. On moving to Broken Bow, he became a vice president in the Nebraska State Bank where he served until his retirement to Florida in 1972. While in Nebraska, he was an active member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, serving as the state president of the organization from 1965-1966.
In 1972, John and Mike (her life-long nickname) retired and moved to Sarasota, Fla., where they were both active in their parish, St. Thomas More. It was in Sarasota that John became a volunteer for a local hospice program. After moving to Sun City Center, Fla. in 1998, both became active volunteers for LifePath Hospice visiting patients, working in the volunteer headquarters, and providing assistance in any number of ways.
Despite the continued loss of his vision due to macular degeneration, John continued to provide support to hospice patients and assistance to the volunteers for as long as possible. In 2008 he was named a United Way of Tampa Bay Volunteer of the Year for his 10 years of devoted service to LifePath.
Throughout his lifetime, John loved the water and was an avid fisherman, boater, water skier, and sailor. He was also a lifelong woodworker and craftsman, designing and building everything from furniture to grandfather clocks to carving small animals and figurines by hand.
Survivors include John's siblings, Willa Mae Faust (Keith) of Cross Plains, Wisc., Beverly Shaul of Gothenburg, and Robert Brainard of McMinnville, Ore.; daughter, Diana Gaskins (William) of Tyrone, Ga.; son, Roger Brainard (Cathy) of Odessa, Fla.; and five grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be Nov. 19, 2011, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Sun City Center. In lieu of flowers, friends who wish may make a donation to the Broken Bow Food Pantry, P.O. Box 124, Broken Bow, NE , 68822.
Published in Custer County Chief, Nov. 17, 2011