William Donald Brainard, 89, of Three Forks passed away Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 at his home.
He was born March 18, 1924 at the Brainard Homestead near Maudlow in Gallatin County. He was the last child of 11 children born to William and Laura (Russell) Brainard.
He attended Durham Grade School riding a horse from home to school. He graduated from Manhattan High School in 1942 where he had participated in football and basketball, and later was inducted into the Manhattan Athletic Hall of Fame. On a football scholarship, Bill attended the University of Washington
and played freshman football until he was drafted to serve in World War II
From May 6, 1943 to Dec. 27, 1945, he was in the U.S. Army Engineers serving in the European Theater and Pacific Theater. He was awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze service star, European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Good Conduct, and Victory Medals.
Bill Don married Evelyn Grace Kennedy Jan. 7, 1948. They started their life of cattle ranching and raising quarter horses. His favorite pastimes were hunting in the north country of Gallatin County, fishing Sixteen Mile Creek, rodeos, and attending cow and horse sales. He was an avid reader, often reading through the night to finish a good book. He was interested in genealogy and spent many hours doing research.
After moving to Three Forks in 1990, he continued to keep up on local team sports and followed his grandchildren as they participated in their activities. Bill enjoyed taking his grandkids and great-grandkids on his guided hunting and fishing expeditions of the North Country. He was always reminiscing about the good old days on his drives around Montana and at family gatherings.
Bill was a member of the Farm Bureau, Gallatin Beef Producers, Montana Rodeo Association, Three Forks Area Historical Society, and the Manhattan American Legion since 1946. He spent many hours guest-speaking at local schools and functions about Gallatin County history. In 2001, he was awarded the Legionnaire award for his work collecting books for the local libraries.
Bill is survived by his wife, Evelyn of Three Forks; sisters, Doris Sandquist of Bozeman and Eldean Rempel of Federal Way, Wash.; daughters, Kathy (Butch) Damuth, Gayle (Paul) Clifford, Sue Brainard, and Jeri (Mike) Ward of the Gallatin Valley area; son, Dean (Betty Ann) Brainard of Shepherd, Mont.; grandchildren, Brent (Melissa) Damuth, Blaine (Amy) Damuth, Chuck Clifford, Laura (Darin) Parr, Cathy (Ty) Parker, Melissa (Jayson) Kittelmann, Val Brainard, Nick Hosley, Krissy Ward, and Brian Ward; 13 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Harry, Bud, Les, and Walter; sisters, Bess, Midge, Laura Belle, and Hazel; and one grandson, Jeff Hedges.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service in Bozeman, with interment to follow at Sunset Hills Cemetery. A reception will be held at the GranTree Inn following the services.
Memorials may be sent to the Manhattan American Legion, 218 E. Main St., Manhattan, MT 59741; Three Forks Area Historical Society, PO Box 116, Three Forks, MT 59752; or a
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.