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BRASCH, Claire Clifford 1916-2012

BRASCH, EMERSON

Posted By: Kermit Kittleson
Date: 2/1/2012 at 13:04:56

Claire Brasch

#1:

ST. ANSGAR, IOWA - Claire Brasch, a long-time resident of St. Ansgar, owner of St. Ansgar Grain and Feed, later NorOats, and a decorated World War II veteran, died Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, at age 95.

A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 30, 2012, at the United Methodist Church, St.Ansgar, with the Rev. Peter Chang and the Rev. Lance Kittleson officiating. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. today, Sunday, Jan. 29, at Schroeder & Sites Funeral Home, St. Ansgar.

Born in 1916 near Hudson, Iowa, he came of age during the Great Depression, working a family farm with his two brothers, Roland and LeRoy, and his parents, Ceola and Art Brasch. When World War II broke out, he volunteered as a Marine and spent the next four years fighting in the Pacific Theater, seeing action on the islands of Saipan, Tarawa, and Guadalcanal, among others. He received a Purple Heart for his actions on Saipan, where he suffered shrapnel wounds after a brutal battle to take the island.

He met his wife Dorothy, a Navy Wave and native of New York, when she was training in Cedar Falls. They were married the next year, 1945, in San Diego, before he was shipped off to a planned invasion of Japan. Enroute, the war was declared over, and he returned with his new wife to New Hampton, Iowa. With help of the GI Bill, he built their first home and began work as an electrician.

Within a few years, he had heard of a business opportunity to operate a grain elevator in St. Ansgar and with Curtis Taylor, the two bought St. Ansgar Grain and Feed in 1950. After dissolving the partnership, he continued to operate the feed mill until 1977, when he expanded operations to process race horse feed.

Upon his retirement, a group of investors bought the business and transformed it into NorOats. Today, after continued expansion and another name change, Grain Millers now runs 24-hours shifts, employing more than 100 people in a town of 1,000.

Besides his business acumen, Claire was known for his woodworking, carving, and model railroad. His woodwork graces the homes of many St. Ansgar residents, from grandfather clocks to shaker boxes. His model train winds through the story of his life, from farmstead to St. Ansgar-in miniature. During winters, he could be found with wood chips at his feet as he perfected the wings on the carvings of his cardinals and ducks.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Dorothy Brasch; his daughter Sally Emerson-Brasch, his son Bob Brasch and wife Susan Brasch; his daughter Barbara Ray and husband Rex Ray; his grandchildren Tara Thorson and husband Corey Thorson, and their children, Elle Sue, Cadence, Mayzie, and Kemper; Eric Kline and his wife Sunny Kline and their children Tyson and Charlie; Kim Opstvedt and husband Shawn Opstvedt and their children Emily and Colin; Christopher Poulos and wife Jessica Poulos and their children Logan and Brayden; Kelsey Brasch; Michael Brasch; and Jacob Brasch.

He was preceded in death by his daughter Susan Kline, and his brothers LeRoy Brasch and Roland Brasch.

He was deeply loved, and his gentle, caring spirit-and dry wit-will be missed. He left us with his favorite parting words: "keep working."

Schroeder & Sites Funeral Home, St. Ansgar,641-713-4920.

[ Globe Gazette online, January 29, 2012 ]
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#2:

Brasch, a graduate of Orange township high school five years ago. . . .

[Waterloo Courier, Nov 6, 1941]

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#3:

In a letter received Friday, the day after his parents, were notified by the government he was wounded in action, Corporal Brasch told of suffering more than two dozen shrapnel wounds in his back when blown out of a fox hole.

He said he was sleeping for the first time in several nights and supposed he had talked in his sleep, thus being discovered. The mortar fire stopped soon after he was hit, which may explain his statement of expecting to be back to duty within a few days.

Corporal Brasch had been in both the Guadalcanal and the Tarawa battles, but this is his first wound.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August, 1941, going overseas the next July.

[Waterloo Daily Courier, Sunday, July 23, 1944, Waterloo, Iowa]
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#4:

Claire Brasch won the sharpshooter badge for the pistol and marksman badge for the rifle, and qualified as an expert with the bayonet, while still in training.

[Waterloo Courier - 11-13-1941]
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#5: NOTES:

His middle name is Clifford.

Photo of Claire Brasch


 

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