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Published May 19, 2013, 12:00 AM

Gordon Joseph Brant

Gordon Joseph Brant passed away peacefully in his sleep at Twin Valley Living Center, Twin Valley, MN, on May 12, 2013. Gordon was 94.

Gordon was born in Fargo, ND, October 25, 1918, to Emil and Alma Brant. He graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1936. While in high school, he played on the varsity hockey team for three years; the team lost just once during that span and won the ND State Hockey Championship. Gordon also played American Legion baseball competing in the National Legion baseball tournament. After high school Gordon attended NDSU.

Gordon Joseph Brant

Gordon Joseph Brant passed away peacefully in his sleep at Twin Valley Living Center, Twin Valley, MN, on May 12, 2013. Gordon was 94.

Gordon was born in Fargo, ND, October 25, 1918, to Emil and Alma Brant. He graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1936. While in high school, he played on the varsity hockey team for three years; the team lost just once during that span and won the ND State Hockey Championship. Gordon also played American Legion baseball competing in the National Legion baseball tournament. After high school Gordon attended NDSU.

Gordon had a highly successful swimming career. He was a self -taught swimmer, crafting his stroke by lying on a piano bench while reading a technique book. A world class swimmer with the Oakland, CA. YMCA, he set records in the 500 yard race, once breaking an existing record by 21 seconds. He qualified for National A.A.U. meets at Wilkes-Barre, PA and later at St. Louis. Other distances he successfully competed in were the 100, 220, 440 and the three mile. Gordon's coach in Oakland called Gordon "one of the premier swimmers on the entire west coast and would have no problem getting a scholarship at any of the division one schools on the coast. Gordon is fast with a powerful kick and has the endurance of a steam engine". He participated in the Winnipeg, MB., Elks Classic three mile swim in the Red River, winning with a time of one hour and eleven minutes. He retired their travelling trophy by winning three consecutive titles.

Gordon's swimming career was interrupted by his service in World War II. He served as a B29 mechanic during the air offensive against Japan. Based in India-Burma, China, central Burma and air combat Sumatra, he was on the island of Tinian and was present to service the Enola Gay on its way to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. Gordon received the good conduct, American Theatre Service, Victory and Asiatic Pacific medals. After the war he returned to Fargo to work and marry his wife, Marilynn Tompkins, September 10, 1947. He finished his education at Dakota Business College and Interstate Business College.

Gordon worked in his family's home construction business alongside his brother Clarence and father Emil prior to WWII. He started designing homes they built while he was in the eighth grade. Emil Brant construction company did home and apartment building and renovations, changing large homes into apartment rental property. Gordon owned apartments at 405 9 Ave North in Fargo until 1965. He worked in the kitchen cabinet trade, establishing Brant Cabinets in Fargo and Grand Forks until retiring.

Gordon enjoyed golfing, where he excelled in area tournaments. He played fast pitch softball and coached the YMCA swim team for several years. Gordon always related well to kids and enjoyed being around them and helping them. He mentored several, foremost Dr. Robert Bartels, PhD, who with Gordon's help won a college scholarship to Ohio State University, later becoming the Buckeyes head coach. Others also swam for division 1 programs after his tutelage. Starting in 1946, Gordon was the head coach of the F-M Twins Men's Ice Hockey Team and continued in that post for three years.

Gordon had four children. Kathy Brant (Bruce Bandy), Downers Grove. Il, David Brant, Fargo, Patty (Keith) Brant- Larson and Paul (Gayle) Brant. He is survived by eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He is also survived by Larry Quamme, the family's close friend, who was like a son to him and Marnee Brant, his niece, who was like a daughter to him.

A private family service was held in Fargo at Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home with interment at Riverside Cemetery, Fargo, ND on May 18, 2013. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in his name be sent to Twin Valley Living Center in care of Julie Carter, 208 Oppegard Ave NW, Twin Valley MN, 56584. TVLC cared for Gordon at life's end, giving him dignity, respect and kindness. He will be missed by many that knew him.

Gordon was preceded in death by his parents, his brother and a sister, Ruth. How he impacted all is best stated by his grandson Alex's posting on Facebook: "a man who fought for his country, a star athlete, a world class swimmer, a great father and grandfather and husband passed away earlier this morning in his sleep. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to be his grandson. I have so many memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life involving the things we did together. I will always love my grandpa. I know he will always be with me, not physically but in my heart. Rest in peace grandpa, I will always love you and forever miss you.

Please feel free to sign the online guestbook at www.hansonrunsvold.com

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