Charles Braun (1933 - 2013) was an Ann Arbor Township farmer and the co-owner of Braun's Tree Farm.
Obituary for Charles Frederick Braun
Charles F. Braun, age 79, passed away at his home, after a short bout with pancreatic cancer on April 19, 2013, with his family members by his side. He was born on August 14, 1933 to the late Carl and Hilda (Fiegel) Braun in Ann Arbor Township and remained an Ann Arbor Township resident his entire life. After his father died in 1944, Charles, at the age of 10, was thrust into the role of becoming a man and farming the family homestead. Charles attended the Braun one-room school and graduated from Ann Arbor High School in 1952. He went on to college at Michigan State University and graduated in the school’s Agricultural Short Course.
Charles returned to the farm with new and better ideas. He was a deep thinker! He retained a lot of knowledge and his head was full of ideas. Many of these ideas were expounded upon, experimented with, and finally implemented into his farming operation or business ventures. One of these experiments was planting and harvesting cucumbers with the help of migrant labor. He, also, was the first in the area to plant huge fields of pumpkins. Charles was the master-mind; the labor and menial jobs fell mostly to his three step-sons or his employees in later years. He employed men and women from the surrounding areas with many of them hired from his own neighborhood community.
Charles was a confirmed member of the Zion Lutheran Church. He was a member of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association and was a prominent retailer of Christmas trees for Braun’s Tree Farm the last several years at his farm in Ann Arbor Township. He was also a member of the Washtenaw County Farm Bureau and a former member of the local Webster Providers Farm Bureau Group. Charles was a noted grower of Michigan Certified Seed throughout the state. Charlie served Ann Arbor Township Fire Department as a volunteer fireman for many years beginning in the early 1950’s. He, then, became assistant chief and his dedication to the Fire Department led him later to become Fire Chief for six years in the 1980’s.
C. F., as he was known by some, formerly owned and operated the 49er Truck Stop located at the near-by corner of North Territorial and Whitmore Lake Roads. He, also, built the C.F. Braun Company farm elevator from the ground up. This was one of the largest grain elevator operations in the county at that time. He had a dealership for the German-made Deutz tractors and sold other farm implements as well. He served local area farmers for years with seed, fertilizer, chemicals, supplies, and purchased their harvested grain. A devastating fire, touched off by a propane gas explosion, consumed and demolished his business in April 1978, but Charles, along with his wife, Catherine, faced the challenge of rebuilding his business and went on to assist the farming community until he sold the business in 1985, after serving the farm community for over thirty years.
Charlie was well-known throughout the state for his farming expertise. In April 1963 he was featured on the cover of the Successful Farming magazine with his 2 row corn planter attached to his plow. He implemented this new “plow-plant” system. When he finished plowing the field, he had completed the planting! He was never afraid to try anything new, before unheard of, in farming. He did exactly what he wanted to do in his lifetime, which was farming, and also, helped other farmers attain their goal in farming. At the height of his agri-business days, he had many semi drivers on the road delivering anhydrous ammonia to various areas throughout the state, as well as semis hauling grain to the Maumee, Ohio River elevator where the farm grain was loaded onto boats and shipped around the world.
Charles is survived by his loving wife, Catherine (Fishbeck) Judkins Braun, two daughters, Mary Catherine (James) McCreedy and Pamela Anne Braun, one step daughter, Linda Judkins (Nick Contompasis) three step sons, Kenneth Judkins, Richard (Sheri) Judkins, and Bruce Judkins. Two grandchildren, Abigail Marie and Justin James McCreedy, six step grandchildren, Tyler Hartman Knutson, Spencer Truman Knutson, Ashley Suzanne Judkins, Alexandria Renee Judkins, twins Emily Catherine and Nicole Elizabeth Judkins. One step great granddaughter, Bailey Stubbe. His brother, David C. Braun of Grand Rapids, MI, cousins, Frieda (Kent) McCullough, John Braun, Mary Pfaus and Barbara ( Luther) Schaible. Charlie also leaves behind his cherished dog, “Sadie” and cat “Tip” who will greatly miss his daily attention. The family wishes to thank Arbor Hospice of Ann Arbor for their help and excellent care at this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in honor of Charles may be made to;
Arbor Hospice 2366 Oak Valley Road Ann Arbor, MI 48103 or
Humane Society of Huron Valley, P.O. Box 7026 Liberty Station, Ann Arbor, MI 48107