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Martin O. Braatz Jr.

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Martin O. Braatz Jr. Obituary
Braatz Jr., Martin O.

Martin O. Braatz, Jr., "Marty" well known jazz musician, a "BeBopper and Cool Cat" passed away on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at the age of 82 at Meadow View Manor Nursing Home where he had resided the past 12 years.

Marty was born on December 30, 1930 in Sheboygan, a son of the late Martin O. and Martha Braatz, Sr. He graduated from Sheboygan Central High School in 1949. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 until 1955, being stationed in Washington D.C., Arizona and Puerto Rico. On June 16, 1956 he was united in marriage to Jeane E. Reiss. They then resided in Tucson Arizona where he attended the University of Arizona on a flute scholarship. They later returned to Sheboygan. Beyond his passion for music he enjoyed family and his hobbies, fishing and flowers.

Marty's music career started at a young age, first with the violin and clarinet and later the flute and saxophones. His love for music carried him through his military career and education beyond high school. While in high school and after graduation he played with the "Kings of Swing". In his senior yearbook his quote was "My close friends--music and Marty." While stationed in Washington D.C. he was a member of the "Airmen of Note", a premier jazz ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Band. Just as musicians such as trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie "the Bird" Parker, Art Pepper and Lee Konitz inspired Marty, he inspired his children, grandchildren and many young musicians throughout the years. Marty said about jazz, "It gives you the freedom to really make your own statement, what you feel about the music in your soul." "It gives you the chance to enhance something that is already beautiful." For over 50 years Marty had innumerable concert performances, jam sessions, festival appearances and night club gigs. He was a part of many jazz trios and quartets and played most notably in the bands "Bluebird","Pop Music" and "Cooler Near The Lake". In the 1980's he was an artist-in- residence with the UW Sheboygan jazz ensembles led by the late John Gates. In the Sheboygan area he worked with musician friends including Carl Weinberger (guitar), Jeff Schieble (trumpet), Bill Klewitz (guitar), Dave Sullivan (guitar), Paul Sucherman (piano), Don Van (piano) and many others too numerous to mention. Referring to his ultimate destiny Marty said, "When I go, I want to go with my reeds on."

Marty is survived by his four children, Terence Braatz (Wendy Erffmeyer) of Menomonee Falls, Tamara (Gary) Damrow of Sheboygan, Denise Imig (Jeffrey Roberts) of Slinger, David Braatz of Sheboygan; his children's mother, Jeane E. Braatz of Sheboygan; his nine grandchildren, Tanya, Steve and Brett (Leah) Damrow, Paul and Drew Imig, Amanda, Adam and Alyssa Braatz and Trevor Braatz; his younger brother, Thomas E. Braatz of Oak Park, Ill. Other family and friends also survive.

A funeral service celebrating Marty's life will be held 3 p.m., Sunday, January 20, at the Reinbold-Novak Funeral Home. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery with military rites accorded by VFW Post 9156. Family and friends may gather at the funeral home, 1535 S. 12th St. on Sunday from 1 p.m. until the time of service at 3 p.m.

Memorials in his name will be directed to the establishment of a scholarship fund for the UW Sheboygan music program.

A sincere and grateful thank you is extended to the entire staff of Meadow View Manor Nursing Home for the loving care and compassion given to him.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.reinboldfh.com

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Published in Sheboygan Press on Jan. 18, 2013
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