Richard Dean Braithwaite, 91, passed away peacefully at home under the care of Gundersen Lutheran Hospice on Thursday, August 3, 2023.
He was surrounded these last weeks by Phyllis; daughters, Lora and Dawn; son-in-law, Mike; brother, Jerry; granddaughters, Ashley, Sara, and Michaela; and all of Phyllis’ family. We all came together on August 3, 2023 for a bittersweet celebration of his birthday.
Richard was born to Harold and Mabel (Anderson) Braithwait (no e), in Lanesboro, MN on August 3, 1932. He served in the United States Army from 1949 to 1952. He was stationed in Germany as well as the United States. He married Marlene Dambach in 1954. Richard and Marlene raised two daughters, Lora and Dawn. After Lora’s divorce, they welcomed her and her three daughters into their home. Richard served as a patrolman with the Winona Police Department from 1957 to 1982. After his service, he was a driver for the Minnesota City School Bus Company with Marlene serving as an aide on his route. Marlene passed away in 1995.
Shortly after, he met his soulmate, Phyllis Dunn. Our family grew to lovingly include Phyllis’ four children, their spouses, and their children. They enjoyed much in their 28 years together. Richard had many lifelong interests: physical fitness, reading, and learning were key. He also enjoyed baking, fishing, walking, country, polka music, and time spent with various family dogs. Phyllis introduced him to tomahawk throwing and dancing, which he also enjoyed. He was an avid and gifted storyteller. He loved teaching us about history and life. Most of all, he was the best dad and grandpa.
Richard is survived by Phyllis Dunn; daughters, Lora Sanford, Dawn Lambrecht; favorite son-in-law, Mike; granddaughters, Ashley Sanford, Sara Sanford (Donaldson “Spike”), and Michaela Sanford (Travis); brother, Jerry Braithwaite; Jerry’s children, Christopher Braithwaite and Candace Williams; sister, Vicki (Jim) Aucutt; Phyllis’ children, Robert (Deb) Dunn, Sue (Roger) Ringwelski, Jan Baertsch (Larry Duellman), and Jim Dunn; Phyllis’ grandchildren and great grandchildren.
As Richard’s final birthday gift, a park bench and plaque commemorating his service with the Winona Police Department, was purchased by the Braithwaite and Dunn families. The bench will be placed in East Levee Park overlooking the Mississippi River for all to enjoy and reflect. Richard’s request that his body be donated to Mayo Clinic to further advance medical education and research was granted.
A gathering to remember Richard’s life will be 1-3 p.m., Thursday, August 10, 2023 at Hoff Celebration of Life Center – Goodview. A short time of remembrance will be at 3 p.m. with military honors following.
In lieu of flowers, please plant a tree in Richard’s honor, or if desired, any donations received by the family will be forwarded to the Winona Public Library and Winona Police Department. Hoff Celebration of Life Center – Goodview is assisting the family with arrangements. www.hofffuneral.com