Obituary: Robert Braunschweig


Robert E. Braunschweig, age 88, son of Rev. Otto and Lisette Braunschweig, was born in Aurelia, Iowa, on Sept. 22, 1935. Bob peacefully passed away from heart failure on April 5, 2024, in Minneapolis, Minn., surrounded by his loving family. He knew it was his time “to go home” and was ready because of his strong faith in God. In his usual dry wit, he voiced one regret — that he would miss the Iowa girls’ Final Four basketball game, which his family watched that night in his honor.

From a young age, Bob loved to build things, which continued throughout his life. After graduating from Aurelia High School in 1953, he received a degree in education (industrial arts) from Westmar College, where he was All Conference for football. He later received a master’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University. Bob’s love for woodworking (and discipline) was passed onto his students at Calamus Community School (where he met the love of his life, Sharon Christensen) and at North Scott High. He left teaching to start his own construction company, only revealing many years later that he did that so he could go fishing in Canada (during what would have been the school year) with his buddies Will Englebrecht and Bud Keppy.

Bob truly enjoyed the years he spent building and remodeling for farmers and families in Clinton and Scott Counties. He appreciated those who worked with him over the years, including the McCubbin brothers, Pete Willet, and for a short time, Chad Spidle. On a personal note, Bob was very proud he could build two homes for his family and had the opportunity to design and build an addition to his church, Christian Free Lutheran Church, where he served as a trustee and deacon. Bob never forgot his love for woodworking, and thanks to his friend Jim Meyer, he always had a shop to escape to and create beautiful furniture.

Family was always important to Bob, and he loved to spend time with his daughter Tami’s family and his many grandchildren, reading, playing, and building things for them. In 2007, Bob’s retirement took on a different purpose with the birth of his grandson Kaden. He and Sharon moved to Minneapolis to help care for Kaden and live with their daughter Sonya. Bob passed on his love of music, with Kaden playing the violin almost every night for him. He tried to pass along his love of fishing, spending five summers on Big Sandy Lake.  He never forgave that lake — they never caught a fish!

Bob suffered two strokes in 2018. Although his body was not as strong, his spirit never wavered, thanks in large part to Sharon’s care. Claiming no love for dogs, Bob’s sidekick for the last five years was a dog he called “Ralph” (not his name), who always knew there was an extra Golden Oreo tucked in Bob’s pocket for him. He also looked forward to seeing his nieces and nephews, including Eileen and Bill, who kept him supplied with his favorite Wisconsin cheddar and peppernuts. There was never a dull moment when his great-granddaughter Thekla came to stay. He relished visits from his nephews John, Steve, Roger, and Josh, who shared fishing stories and walleyes from their trips to Canada that he could no longer make. The cards and puzzles that he received during the last few years of his life, and the many treats from Kaden’s godmother Joanne, really made his day.

Joining Bob at Heaven’s Gate is his daughter Tonya Rae, his parents, four sisters and seven brothers, parents-in-law Lester and Lorraine, and brother-in-law Jan and his wife Diane. His family jokes that he’s probably playing bridge right now with Lester and Lorraine, but without Sharon, we wonder who he’s arguing with when the bidding goes terribly wrong?

Although it was time for Bob to go to a better place, he is missed. He was a beloved husband, dad, grandpa, and friend. He is survived by his wife Sharon, who wishes just one more game of Phase 10; daughter Sonya, her husband Ricardo Diaz, and grandson Kaden; daughter Tami and her husband Cliff Boyle, who he loved to pray with; along with four other grandchildren Talia (Brent Eberhart), Toshia (Chad Spidle) whose family was at his side when he died, Dwight (Amanda Wiese), and Shauna (Bob Coulson); 11 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; brother Victor and sister Anna and her husband (and his fishing partner) Herb Huseman; and many nieces and nephews.

Bob’s family invites you to celebrate his life on June 8, at Christian Free Lutheran Church, 407 North Main Street, Wheatland, IA 52777. Visitation with the family starts at 10 a.m., with a service to follow at 11 a.m. Bob’s favorite church potluck will be served after — the one time he will not be first in line. The family requests that any memorials be made to St. Jude’s Children Hospital, or Christian Free Lutheran Church.


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