Peter Braun, age 96, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 24, 2021 at the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current, SK.
Peter “Pete” Braun was born June 14, 1925 in Herbert, SK, not long after his parents, John & Helen (Friesen) Braun, arrived in Canada from Orenburg, Russia. His school years were spent in Turnhill and Capeland. With a great deal of laughter, he often told stories about the shenanigans he did at school together with his two life-long friends, Abe Reimer and Leonard Harder.
Growing up on the farm, Pete and his brothers worked hard. When their parents were away visiting relatives, the boys were expected to put up a building or pour a concrete sidewalk across the yard before the parents returned.
During WWII, as a conscientious objector, Pete worked at the Ben Jahnke ranch northwest of Main Centre for $1 a day. Wake-up time was 5:30 am, when he would pump water by hand for 350 head of cattle. In the dry years, he drove horse and sleigh in -35 degrees along the river ice to Beechy to load up green thistle for cow feed.
The winter following the war was spent at a lumber mill in BC, where Pete and his brother, John, were the only white workers amongst Chinese. Pete attended Caronport Bible School for a year and stayed another year doing maintenance—shoveling coal for heating the school and, with much leniency, enforcing student curfew time.
For a number of years Pete’s eye had been on beautiful Leona Block. One very cold winter day he rode his horse to see her and arrived with frozen ears, which Leona recalls were dripping the whole time they visited. They were married September 25, 1949 and Pete’s adoration of Leona was evident throughout their 72 years of marriage.
Their first winter of married life was spent caring for his parent’s farm while the parents were in BC, followed by a year working in construction for his Uncle Dick in Lethbridge, AB. The third winter, they worked at Herbert Bible School — Pete in maintenance and Leona as cook. Shortly thereafter, daughter Sherry was born in 1952. Pete was one happy dad! After son Dallas was born in 1955 he exclaimed, “Now I have a million dollar family!”
Pete enjoyed over 70 years of grain farming. For many years he also led construction crews, erecting the Main Centre Ice Rink, twenty-seven quonsets, and thirteen houses all over the countryside. A building highlight was being project manager in the construction of the Teepee and other buildings at Herbert Ferry Regional Park. He was respected as a master carpenter, and loved as a congenial and fair boss. For several decades, he served on the Board of Mennonite Mutual Fire Insurance. In his spare time, Pete enjoyed raising ponies and pheasants, and building clocks and curio cabinets.
Pete’s appreciation of music began at an early age, listening to his mother sing hymns as she worked. He learned to play violin as a teenager and then guitar and sang in the church choir. For over 65 years he accompanied Leona and her sisters, Frieda and Lydia, as they sang at community and church events. Pete & Leona spent much of their time visiting and singing for the elderly, sick, lonely and dying. They ministered in song at sixty-nine funerals. In recent years, they enjoyed performing with the Golden Oldies Band and Pete sang in a male choir.
Pete and Leona had large hearts—fostering children, sponsoring poor children, unofficially adopting others as their own. Their nieces and nephews were very important to them. Pete felt blessed to be able to support many charities, to help build an MB Missions church in Germany, to work at West Bank Bible Camp, to be a part of the Gideons, and, in his later years as he lost his mobility, to tie MCC blankets.
Pete was a very generous, loving, affirming father who went out of his way to provide for and support his family. Farming together with Dallas brought him a lot of joy, and in his last years he especially enjoyed going out to the combine and visiting Dallas’s shop. Pete & Leona had such fun hosting the grandsons during summer farm vacations. In the evenings, the guitar and omnichord came out and they would sing together.
Grandson Kinsey recollects, “I spent many hours in the tractor with grandpa as a child. I remember him sharing the delicious lunches grandma packed, answering my many questions about the farm machines and teaching me about the animals we saw on the fields. He taught me to drive, to play guitar, and to have fun working hard. I also remember grandpa was always making friends. Waiting in line for the ferry in BC he walked up and down the rows of vehicles and came back to our van to introduce a new friend.” Grandson DeLayne reflects, “At the end of his years grandpa wasn’t always able to perfectly remember or understand the details I would share about my life. But he was very steadfast in conveying that he loved me, was proud of me, and believed in what I was doing with my life.”
Pete’s faith and his tireless service in the Main Centre MB Church — on the Board of Elders, as usher, in renovation and maintenance of the building and grounds — were central to his life. When Pete & Leona moved to Swift Current after retirement, they joined the Bridgeway Church, where they served on a worship team and as deacons. Pete talked of his mother’s prayers following him, and expressed the hope that others would experience God’s saving grace as he had. He was a content man, always crediting God for his many blessings.
Rest in peace, dear husband, dad, grandpa, opa, brother, uncle, and friend — forever remembered as a good man, with your friendly smile and wave, wearing your signature cowboy hat and belt buckle! We love you and miss you dearly! Your beloved wife Leona; daughter Sherry (Wesley) and grandson Kinsey (Amanda) with great-grandsons Lyle and Ari, and grandson DeLayne; son Dallas; extended family and numerous friends.
A Celebration of Life for Pete Braun will be held at a later date. Service details will be announced.
In lieu of flowers and in memory of Pete Braun, donations may be made to the Gideons International or to Rock Solid Refuge would be appreciated by the family. (Rock Solid Refuge is a 12-month Biblically based recovery program for teenage boys who are struggling with addiction and challenging behaviors.)
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