13 Nov Roger W. Branning
Roger Branning, 87, of Bismarck passed away on November 11, 2023. Funeral Service will be held on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church with Rev. Martha HarriSon officiating. Burial will be held at Menoken Cemetery.
Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church.
Roger was born on May 10 (Mother’s Day), 1936. He was raised on his parent’s farms-first on his parent’s rented farmstead and then in 1940 on their newly established home near Woodworth. He started helping his parents with the farming at a very early age. By the age of 5 he was milking cows by hand in the morning and performing chores in the evening. He drove a team of horses to plow the fields, plant the crops and cultivate corn. The first small John Deer tractor in the mid-to-late 1940’s found Roger driving the tractor to plow the fields, plant the crops and cut prairie grass for hay. By the age of 13, Roger was able to do the work of most men twice his age.
He attended all 8 elementary grades in a one room school house at Goldwin. His high school years were at Woodworth. He enjoyed playing baseball and basketball for the Woodworth Mallards. He spent 4 ½ years at North Dakota Agricultural College in Fargo, North Dakota. He graduated with a major in industrial engineering and then obtained the professional Civil Engineer title.
Roger married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Hauff shortly after graduating from college. He was employed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the winter of 1959. His employment covered Construction Engineer, Engineering Design and Engineering Management. He worked throughout the US and places in Europe to include: Omaha, Nebraska; Ottumwa, Iowa; Pierre, South Dakota; Rapid City, South Dakota; Minot, North Dakota; Fort Washakie, Wyoming; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Great Falls, Montana; Riverdale, North Dakota; Verdun, France and Stuttgart Germany. Roger retired on his 48th birthday from the Army Corps of Engineers. Roger held the distinguished title of “Chief Engineer” at several locations to include his European assignments, Great Falls, Montana, Grand Forks, Minot and Riverdale, North Dakota.
Roger started a second career after a brief hiatus and taught as a professor at North Dakota State University for several quarters. He also worked as a construction supervisor for Super 8 Hotels. He became a marathon runner completing marathons in Winnipeg in 1986, Minneapolis in 1986, Bismarck in 1986 and 1987, the New York Marathon and many others. He continued to run even in the local Turkey Trot last November.
Roger was in his mid 50s, when he began farming the land that he acquired over the years, near Menoken. He purchased used machinery, tractors, farm implements, grain bins, a Quonset and a small wooden building which he added to the farm site. In addition to grain farming, he put up some hay. He has raised chickens, calves, and ducks. He worked hard and loved hobby farming. At that time he and his wife Shirley had the home of their dreams built at Apple Creek Country Club.
Roger joined the Peace Corps about 20 years ago. He was sent to Romania where he made many wonderful friends and established an English Laboratory in a village school. He and Shirley, traveled the world to include almost every continent. He loved Romania, but also Siberia where he rode the Siberian Express. More recently, he traveled to Europe and attended a farm summit in Vienna. He talked about so many experiences, even touring the Chernobyl sight.
He loved people and with his quick wit was able to socialize with everyone, even those who spoke other languages. Horses were especially a love for him. His horses, “Jack” and “Pinky” would allow him to ride standing up. He always had hay, sugar cubes and carrots to feed his neighbor’s horses. He loved the land and fought for the “Family Farms” at many legislative events. He was a member of the Landowners Association, Farmer’s Union, the Lions Club, Germans from Russia and Toastmasters. He had a strong faith and loved his church, Trinity Lutheran in Bismarck.
Roger is survived by his wife of 64 years, Shirley; daughters Kimberly Hepper and husband Keith Hepper and Kathy Prochnow and husband David Prochnow; grand daughter’s, Hannah Lau and husband Chad Lau, Kathryn Prochnow, Amelia Prochnow and Penelope Prochnow; great grandson Wyatt Lau. He was exceptionally close to his dear brother, Willis Branning and wife Judy. He has many dear nephews, nieces, brother in law and sister in law, great nephews and great nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Kathryn and Walter Branning.
The family wishes to express gratitude to friends, acquaintances and all of those who provided care and support through the years.