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Curtis L. Braa

Published September 02,2015

Obituary's Biography:

Curtis L. Braa, age 72, of Waukegan, IL, passed away Friday, August 28, 2015 at Lake Forest Hospital in Lake Forest. He was born August 3, 1943 in Rockford to Carl and Evelyn (nee Kelsey) Braa. In the fall of 1945, the family returned and purchased a farm in Fedora, SD, where he grew up. Curt was a retired band director of 35 years with many public schools (Fulton, Ethan, Letcher, Doland & Brandon Valley schools in South Dakota, Keokuk, Iowa, Warren Township High School in Gurnee, IL and Ft. Hancock, TX. He is survived by his children Angela (Russ) Chamberlin of Grayslake, Andrea Kowitz of Lake Geneva, WI and Rich (Cindy) of Richmond; grandchildren, Kelsey & Courtney Chamberlin, Kalynn, Morgan & Emma Kowitz & Julia Braa; siblings, Dennis of Sioux Falls, SD and Doug (Becky) of Mokena, IL. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Friends of the family may visit on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Strang Funeral Chapel & Crematorium, 410 East Belvidere Road, Grayslake, IL 60030. A funeral service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. immediately following the service.

Interment will be held October 10 at 11 a.m. in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Artesian, SD. For information, please call 847-223-8122 or visit www.strangfuneral.org.
Memorial contributions may be made to Warren THS Band Boosters, 500 O’Plaine Rd, Gurnee, IL 60031.

9 replies on “Curtis L. Braa”

  1. To Curtis Braa’s family,
    We send you our sincere sympathy at the death of your loved one.
    My sister and I attended elementary school in Fulton, SD, and were in Mr. Braa’s band. It may have been his first teaching assignment, begun when he was still a student at Dakota Wesleyan university in Mitchell, SD. We both played violin–no problem, he simply had us play the flute parts. Several years ago, Curtis’ father, Carl, was in a local nursing home at the same time as our father.
    Today, Liz Soladay teaches strings and keyboard at Dakota Wesleyan, and we have a shop here in Fulton, where we restore bows for stringed instruments–hence the unusual email.
    A recent DWU music major is now a grad student in music therapy at the U of Minnesota.
    We will be giving her a scholarship gift for her studies, it will be designated in Curtis Braa’s memory.
    Wanted you to know that there are still some folks here in SD who remember.
    Sending you our prayers.
    Mary (Soladay) Wipf and Liz Soladay

    1. Thank you Mary! Dad often shared stories from his early days teaching. It has been so comforting for us to hear the stories from his former students and know that he touched the hearts and lives of so many young people. That is awesome that you are both still have the love of music.

      Thank you so much for honoring dad’s memory, by giving the scholarship in his memory and for taking a moment of your time to remind us how much of an impact he made!

  2. This morning Mr. Braa’s name popped into my head and I went to Google to see if I could locate any info on him. I was surprised to find this obituary.
    After Doland, SD, he came to Platte, SD to be our band director. In fact, I think he had to drive back and forth to Doland at first because they didn’t have a new director. My husband Allen and I were both in band. We graduated in 1969 and were married on Aug. 3, 1973 which I see was his birthday. We enjoyed him as a director and are so sorry to learn of his passing.
    I was surprised to see the above remark about Liz Soladay. She was involved in music with us at South Dakota State University.
    Allen & Leanne (Tjeerdsma) Olivier, Chamberlain, SD

    1. Hi Allen and Leanne,
      Thank you for your condolences, we enjoy hearing stories about his effect on his band students. He had many stories about his band teaching days. We miss him everyday!

    2. Thank you! Sorry your search for dad didn’t turn out positive. He would have loved re-connecting! He often went back to South Dakota during the time that Fulton/Letcher would have a reunion. That was another school that he taught in early on.

      Today marks the one year anniversary since he passed away. In the past year, we have loved hearing the stories from his students. His positive impact and the stories people have shared have reminded us of how awesome he was. We were recently talking about Platte too, that was after our parents had gotten married, and they lived in Platte. That’s too funny that you knew Liz too, and didn’t know that there was a connection through Dad!

      Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to let remind us how awesome he was!

  3. Dear family,
    Paul Wentworth just shared this link with us. He, your dad, and my husband, Stu Crouse, were three of the five who shared a basement apartment during days at DWU. Curt was a very dear friend to both of us. He was our best man at our wedding and Stu was his and I sang at your folks’ wedding.

    We were saddened to learn of his passing — we had lost track over the years. He did stay with us in Toledo, IA,the spring of 1973 when he and Stu attended an MENC meeting in Ames, IA. Stu had followed him in both Fulton and Ethan while in college. He was remembered fondly at their DWU 50th class reunion in 2015.

    Curt was a great teacher and musician and a very special friend. We have fond memories.

    1. Often wondered where Stu and Georgiann Crouse were these days. Georgiann did sing at our wedding on that VERY hot day.

  4. Thank you Stu and Georgiann! We have been very grateful to everyone that has shared their experiences with dad.

    Maybe you could then explain one of the pictures that we found in his collection. Some guys (dad included) in dresses or housecoats dancing on a beach. It’s been shared on his Facebook page. I don’t know if you will be able to see it, but I did put the link to it below. I also sent you a message in Facebook, but since we’re not “friends”, you will have to look for it. It would be awesome if that was Stu and Paul standing with him! Or maybe one of the ladies in the front was you!

    Thank you again!

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