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Kenneth V. Brauns

CHICAGO — Kenneth Vernon Brauns, a resident of the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (VA), North Chicago, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, at the age of 94. He was born in Chicago on July 8, 1916, to Vernon and Wilhelmina (Von Blumenthal) Brauns. Kenneth grew up in Crystal Lake, Ill., attended school at the University of Minnesota and Dunwoody Industrial Institute, and then moved to Nisswa, Minn., where he built the B&L Diner and the Totem Pole.

He served in the Army Air Corps from 1942-45 with Signal Intelligence in the China, Burma and India Theater of War. After WWII, he worked for the Army Security Agency in Washington, D.C. and then for Armour & Co. in several positions, including Design & Automation, Research & Development and Corporate Engineering. He held many patents for original designs, including the first humane animal stunner. From 1970 until 1987, he owned and operated Brauns Engineering in Crystal Lake, Ill. Upon retiring, Kenneth and his wife returned to Nisswa, where they lived for 18 years before moving to Chicago.

Kenneth is survived by his beloved wife, Blanche (Black), to whom he was married for 60 years, children, Margaret Ann, Brainerd, Minn., Lora (Kent) Swanson, Evanston, Ill., and Timothy (Mency), Boston; grandchildren, Carlos Poveda, Alana and Alex Swanson; and brother Ted, Plymouth, Minn. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Verne Grant and Elise Bauer; and brother, Hollis.

Kenneth was a charter and life member of the Billie Brown Post of the American Legion, Nisswa, Minn., and a life member of the Brainerd VFW. He will always be remembered as an avid hunter and fisherman.

Services will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 11 a.m. at the Halvorson-Johnson Funeral Home in Brainerd. Visitation will precede the service at 10 a.m. Burial will take place at Greenwood Cemetery, Nisswa.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to either Alzheimer’s Disease Research (’s) or the Macular Degeneration Association (

Arrangements are with Halvorson-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Brainerd.