Charlene Brainard

Thursday, July 21, 2016 2:45 pm

Charlene Brainard, 82, of Waukon, died Saturday, July 16, 2016, at the Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah. The funeral service was at 2 p.m. Tuesday,  July 26, at Schluter-Balik Funeral Home, Decorah, with Rev. Gary Catterson officiating.

Charlene JoAnn (Brainard) Styve was born Feb. 15, 1934, to Violet (Severson) Styve and Lester Styve in Decorah. She was confirmed June 15, 1947, at the First Lutheran Church in Decorah. Charlene graduated from Decorah High School in May of 1952. She married Gene Robert Brainard of rural Postville July 6, 1952. They settled on the home farm with Eva Smith Brainard and George Reuben Brainard where they farmed until 1974. Charlene gave birth to two daughters, Mary Elizabeth and Margaret Ellen. In addition to farming, Charlene and Gene were early supporters of the National Farming Organization, they enjoyed card club with close friends and neighbors and together were co-leaders in the Postville Community Presbyterian Church youth group. Charlene taught Sunday school and bible church school. She sang in the church choir and participated in many church activities. In the mid 1960s she became co-leader of the cherry valley chums 4-H youth group where she supported both of her daughters in their projects. She acted as chaperon on several 4-H bus trips to Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and Manitoba, Canada. Together the family enjoyed many camping trips across the country, from Canada to Mexico, Florida to New York state. Charlene spent many years writing to pen friends from both South Africa and London, England (with Mrs. Elaine Pearson. She was a life-long member of the Post-Franklin Study Club along with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. She was a gifted seamstress and put her talents toward all variety of hobbies from candle making to quilting. She began a small business of baking and decorating wedding cakes and her daughters, nieces and nephews will all remember the special birthday cakes she lovingly made for them. Her off-farm employment varied from years at the Postville Herald, the Allamakee County Vet Clinic, the Waukon Good Samaritan Home and nine happy years as the Allamakee County Extension 4-H aide. In addition, she very much enjoyed seasonal employment at the Decorah Greenhouse. In her spare time Charlene developed a large line of original of original cornhusk dolls that grew into both wholesale and retail sales known as Charlene’s Cornhusk Creations. She and Gene enjoyed many years of attending craft shows all across the Midwest. Charlene kept the family vegetable and flower gardens for most of her adult life and shared her love for nature’s wildlife and flora with her daughters. She was a passionate bird-watcher and spent several years teaching the family parakeet (Peter) to speak. Her dogs and cats were always special friends and she enjoyed her housecats every day until her passing. In 1974 she and Gene joined the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church of rural Ludlow township where Charlene participated in many church activities. Charlene enjoyed many interesting hours of programming through Iowa Public Television. She was a particular fan of Keeping VP Appearances with the wonderfully funny Hyacinth Bucket. Charlene had an elastic sense of humor, a kind heart and a loving nature. She will be greatly missed by all of her family and friends.

She is survived by her daughters: Mary Elizabeth Stotts and Margaret Ellen Brainard, Waukon; grandchildren, Dr. Corey Stotts and Stephanie Stotts; brother, Mark (Linda) Styve; brother-in-law, David Lensch; sisters-in-law: Shirley Brainard, Bernice Frederich, Shirley (Sand) Brainard, Darlene Brainard, Orril Brainard; aunt, Marjorie Severson; along with many nieces and nephews.

Charlene was preceded in death by her husband, Gene Brainard, May 10, 2013; parents, Lester and Violet (Severson) Styve; sister, Roslyn Lensch; in-laws: Lee (Donna) Brainard, Dale (Erna) Brainard, Kenneth (Barbara) Schori, Ray Brainard, Keith (Jenette) Brainard, John Brainard, Edgar Brainard, Leslie Poesch, Anne Poesch, Leland Walby, Janice Glaim, Helmer Glaim, Lester Frederich; nephew, Bradley Brainard; nieces: Jana Rupnick, Rhonda Radloff and Russell Enyart.

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