Donald J. Brake, beloved father, grandfather, brother, and friend, died on September 30, 2011, of complications from advanced Parkinsons disease. Don was born in Lansing, Michigan, on March 18, 1937, the youngest of four boys, and the son of D. Hale Brake and Marjorie (Valentine) Brake. He grew up on a farm in Stanton, Michigan. An all-around athlete, he graduated from Stanton High School in 1955. He earned his Bachelors Degree from Albion College in Michigan. He graduated from McCormick Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. He earned his Masters of Social Work at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He worked in community development in Kansas City, Missouri, and then moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, and taught classes and field work for the University of Kansas School of Social Work. His love of learning prompted him to pursue further education at the University of Kansas, where he earned Masters Degrees in Urban Planning, Adult Development, and American Studies. He put his education and commitment to public service to work at the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to Topeka, Kansas in 1992 to join the Kansas State Department of Commerce and Housing, where he continued to work on issues related to public housing until he retired. As his disease progressed, he moved to Aldersgate Village in Topeka, where he spent his last years. He is survived by his son, David Brake, daughter, Deborah Brake, two grandchildren, his brother, John Brake, and many nieces and nephews. A memorial ceremony will be 3 p.m., Sunday, October 9, 2011 at the Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, 1321 SW 10th Ave., Topeka. Memorial contributions may be made to Parkinson Research Foundation, 8586 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota, FL 34238. To leave a message for the family online, please visit www.PenwellGabelTopeka.com.
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Oct. 2, 2011