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Barbara Braden, a lifelong resident of Lake Geneva, passed away on December 12th, 2023 at the age of 95. She was preceded in death by her parents Norma (Nee Johnson) and John "Jack" Brellenthin. She is survived by her brother Birdell "Burly" Brellenthin and her seven children Scott (Arlene), Mark (Karen), Matt, Sue, Ralph (Ginny), Ladd (Caroline), and Brad (Rick). She is also survived by ten grandchildren and twenty four great grandchildren.
Barbara was a graduate of Lake Geneva High School in 1946 and Milwaukee Downer College in 1948. She then began her teaching career in a one room schoolhouse. While a substitute teacher in Lake Geneva, Bloomfield, and Genoa City, Barbara began a lifelong devotion to travel and hands-on education, visiting all 50 states and every continent except Antarctica. She married Berwyn "Buzz" Braden is 1950. Barbara was an active member and leader in numerous local, state, and national organizations most notably the Republican Party of Walworth County. She received recognition as a Goldwater Girl at the Republican National Convention in 1964. Barbara was a businesswomen co-owning The Top Deck, Top Deck East and the Hayloft, as well as working in other hospitality venues for decades. Continuing her commitment to the community, she was an election poll worker for over 60 years, serving as the Republican Representative to ensure the accuracy of elections in Lake Geneva. Her community involvement included years of service to Lake Geneva Badger High School Wall of Success, Geneva Lake Museum, organizing the Lake Geneva High School/Badger All School Reunions and Lake Geneva Sesquicentennial Celebration. Closest to her heart, however, was her service to the American Legion Auxiliary, Frank Kresen Unit 24 in honor of her Uncle Harold Brellenthin, who perished heroically in WWII. In her retirement, Barbara made and supervised the sewing of hundreds of quilts sewn to military specifications and distributed to Wisconsin National Guard deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Legion named her Unit Member of the Year in 2008 and was subsequently honored at that year's National Convention. She was elected to the Lake Geneva Badger High School Wall of Success in 2003. She loved to open her home to all kinds of gatherings including clam bakes, family reunions, bridge parties, pool parties, holiday dinners, high school reunions and all-day long News Years Day football parties.
Barbara was a lifelong member of The First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lake Geneva. In memory of a life well lived in service of her community, donations may be made to the American Legion Auxiliary, Geneva Lake Museum, or a charity of your choice.
Services for Barbara will be held on Monday December 18th, 2023 at 11:00am at First Lutheran Church on Logan Street in Lake Geneva. Visitation will be held on Sunday December 17th, 2023 form the hours of 4:00pm till 6:00pm in the Main Chapel of Derrick Funeral Home. A short visitation will also be held on Monday from 10:00 till the time of service.
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Derrick Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the Braden Family.