Eugene Joseph Brand
Eugene Joseph Brand of rural Hanska passed away on November 12, 2020, having succumbed to cancer after many decades of successful battles with the disease.
Gene was born June 21, 1932 to Edward and Rose (nee Gleisner) Brand in Granby Township, north of Nicollet. He was raised on farms near Swan Lake and later near Foley, Minnesota. He graduated from Foley High School in 1949 and worked in the grocery business before moving to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1953. There he met and married Lillian Slattery in 1955. Gene and Lil started their family in Alaska, returned to Minnesota in 1960, and moved to Denver, Colorado in 1962.
Gene worked in a variety of businesses in his younger years. He attended night school at the University of Colorado at Denver, earning his bachelor’s degree in Education in 1968 and a master’s degree in 1974. Gene began teaching in 1968 and taught social studies and English, retiring in 1997 from New Ulm Senior High School.
In 1974, the family moved to a small farm in Lake Hanska Township, eventually expanding and improving the farm. The farm was Gene’s pride and joy, a source of both production and beauty, especially the flower gardens in his later years.
Gene loved to sing and was involved for many years in Hanska’s Syttende Mai productions, in the Concord Singers, and in productions in the State Street Theater in New Ulm and other community theater productions. He enjoyed singing in the chorus and played Captain Corcoran, Nathan Detroit, Legs Ruby, and Mr. Bumble.
Gene had a keen interest in history and loved to travel in the US and abroad. He was active in politics and ran for the Colorado House of Representatives in 1972. He was a volunteer at the hospital in New Ulm, an active member of the New Ulm Senior Center’s CAST program, a member of several groups and boards, and a reliable attendee at weekly happy hours.
Gene is survived by his sister Celine Siira of Culpepper, Virginia, sister-in-law Doris Brand of Waite Park, daughters Margaret Graham (Wes) of Cedaredge, Colorado, Cecile Brisnehan (Robert) of Plainfield, Indiana, Bonita Brand of New Ulm, and Hon. Jeanine Brand (Allen Nankivel) of Bagley, and sons Theodore (Lornell) of Roseville, Steven (Amber) of Monticello, and Paul (Sarah) of Falcon Heights, in addition to 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and dear friend Rosie Franz Geer. He is predeceased by his former wife Lillian Brand, his mother Rose Gleisner Brand, his father Edward Brand, his stepmother Rose Miller LaPlant Brand, his sisters Beata Wollak Chute and Sister Bonita Brand SLW, and by brothers James (Jim) and William Anthony (Red).