Roy "Mack" Brand(1945 - 2013)

Roy "Mack" Brand
November 17, 1945- November 29, 2013
Mack was born in Richland, Washington, the third child of Roy and Eleanor Brand. He was the cutest little kid you ever saw, dark eyed with a scatter of freckles over his nose. His personality was much like his father's: serious, thoughtful, independent. He attended public schools in Richand and graduated from Columbia High School in 1964.
He grew into a man of many talents. He was smart, artistic, loved music and played trumpet in the school band. At 6'4", he was lean and muscular, a natural athlete. He swam, water skied, was on the school track team, and was a champion high jumper. Mack's District record jump wasn't broken for eight years.
After high school, Mack tried junior college but didn't like it. He joined the Marines. Before having to report, he and his friend, Jim Blackwood, drove to Lake Tahoe where they got summer jobs and shared adventures. Mack always remembered that trip with great fondness.
Mack was shipped to Vietnam. While on patrol, already with a purple heart for combat injuries and a week past his end of tour date, he was critically wounded by a land mine. He lost his right leg and right hand and suffered traumatic brain injury. Of course, he also had to endure the soldiers' disease, PTSD.
After a lengthy hospitalization, Mack opted to use crutches and a hook because they allowed him more mobility than a prosthetic leg and hand. He soon developed a fluid, swinging walk that carried him over any terrain on his many hikes. He adapted a mountain bike and rode every trail that appealed to him. He was an excellent driver. He earned his private pilot's license in the '70s. He loved the wilderness and especially being on the water. He kayaked, and owned a pontoon boat that he lived on for longer excursions. In addition, he was an able handyman. He happily took on home improvement projects, big and small. In fact, Mack defied his disabilities in every possible way. He didn't like the word "disabled." He rightfully preferred to use "differently-abled," as we all should. For many years, Mack was engaged in civic and veterans' issues. He spent a year with VISTA, working for handicapped access to public areas.
Of all Mack's pursuits, writing may have been most important to him. He was a fine writer. His stories, many based on his experiences in Vietnam, were well composed and emotionally powerful. None were published, but they are treasures to his family.
Mack married Carol Peterson, with whom he had three children: Peter, Bevin, and Caresse. Oh, how he loved those kids! As they grew, he shared his ingenuity, wry humor, sense of fun, appreciation of music (classical to wild rock 'n roll), literature, and art. He recognized his children's special individuality, encouraged and supported their personal choices.
For most of the '90s, Mack divided his time between his family in Ellensburg and being primary caregiver in Richland for his ailing parents and Down's Syndrome brothers, Ray Brand and Richard Smith. It was a grueling schedule that took a heavy toll on Mack, physically and emotionally.
Families of brain-injured veterans know that the ravages of war continue long after homecoming. Eventually, Mack could no longer function independently. He spent the last two and a half years of his life at Patty Jackson's Sumner Cottage. Patty personally provides much of the care giving, and she goes far beyond her duties to insure that her charges get the best quality of life possible. Mack's family, including his brother, Jim, and sister Ginny, remained actively involved with him to the end, long past when he could recognize them.
Mack had a strong personal code of honor, and his pride rested on being an honorable man. Mack was a gentleman.
With sorrow for his suffering and sighs for his release at last, with everlasting gratitude for the many gifts he shared with us, we hold him always close in our hearts.
Mack is survived by his children, Peter, Bevin and Caresse Brand, brother Jim Brand, sister Ginny (Harry) Dangerfield, nieces Briana Brand and Emily (Joel) Harveaux and children Noah, Lauren, Audrey, and Carson Harveaux, and nephew Garrett Dangerfield.
Condolences may be left at www.dignitymemorial.com/powers-funeral-home-sumner/en-us/index.page


Published in Daily Record from Jan. 8 to Jan. 15, 2014