Fr. Donald Bernard Braukmann, 58, died on July 17, 2019 at Neilson Place, Bemidji Minnesota, after a long battle with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).
Visitation will be from 5-7pm on Sunday, July 21, 2019 at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Bemidji, Minnesota, with a prayer service at 7pm. The funeral Mass for Fr. Don will be at 9:30 a.m., on Monday, July 22, 2019 also at St. Philip’s Catholic Church with visitation one hour prior to the service. A memorial service with burial will be at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at Fr. Don’s home parish in Butler, Minnesota (rural New York Mills). Arrangements were entrusted to the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji.
Donald Bernard Braukmann was born on August 3, 1960 to John & Josephine (Hendrickx) Braukmann. He lived the first 18 years of his life on the family dairy farm and attended Holy Cross Catholic Church in Butler Township. It was there, in the parish he still loves, that he was Baptized, made his First Communion, was Confirmed and ordained a Deacon. He will be buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, next to his parents and those members of Holy Cross who nurtured his faith all his life.
Those who know Fr. Don know of his love for the farm, his home parish and his hometown. On this side of heaven, the area was always “home” no matter where he lived. Don graduated from New York Mills High school in 1978.
After high school graduation Fr. Don attended the University of Minnesota, Crookston (a 2 year school at the time) and became involved with events through the Diocese of Crookston, namely, Teens Encounter Christ, where his call to the priesthood came to life.
He entered St. John Vianney Seminary on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, the fall of 1980, graduating in 1982. In 1986, Fr. Don completed his studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, and was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Crookston at St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Perham, Minnesota, on March 15, 1986.
During his seminary years, in 1983, Fr. Don spent five months in the holy land which he said was 4 months and 28 days too long. He was a “Minnesota Boy” and was very homesick.
Over his 30 years as a priest for the Diocese of Crookston, Fr. Don first lived in Moorhead, serving St. Joseph’s Church from 1986-1990. From 1990-1996 he lived in Ada serving St. Joseph’s Church and during those six years also served St. Lawrence in Felton, Holy Family in Halstad, and St. John’s in Georgetown. From 1996-2004 he lived in Greenbush serving Blessed Sacrament Church along with St. Aloysius of Leo, St. Joseph of Middle River, St. Edward’s Karlstad and Assumption Church of Florian. From 2004-2011 he was at St. Mary’s in Warroad and served St. Philips Church of Falun, St. Joseph’s in Williams and Sacred Heart Church of Baudette during those years. From 2011 until retirement (because of ALS) on June 30, 2018, he served St. Philip’s Church, Bemidji, and St. Charles of Pennington.
Fr. Don’s passion for the pro-life cause is well known. He defended the right to life of each person from womb to tomb. He wrote a column in the Diocese of Crookston paper, “Our Northland Diocese,” for many years. Three books compiling his writing were produced during that time including: “As It Is In Heaven,” “Spoken Through the Prophets,” and “…He Took Flesh.”
Fr. Don was a faithful fan of the Minnesota Twins and even attended the second game of the World Series in 1991! The Minnesota Vikings disappointed him for years, including through four Super Bowls. To compensate, he was a New England Patriots fan once the Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs! Being with family and attending high school sporting and other events were his favorite hobbies.
Fr. Don was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Denis, all his grandparents, and all his aunts and uncles.
Remaining behind on this side of heaven are his siblings and their spouses: His sisters, Mary Ann (Albert) Jorgenson of rural Perham, MN; Karen (LeRoy) Haman of Bluffton, MN; and Janice (Dean) Huwe of rural New York Mills, MN. His brothers, Bob (Irene Sczygiel) of Detroit Lakes, MN and David (Laurine Abrahamson) of New York Mills, MN; sister-in-law Norleen (Dale) Braukmann of Duluth, MN. Fr. Don has 16 nephews and nieces, 35 great nephews and nieces and 2 great great nieces.
Memorials are preferred to Holy Cross Church Cemetery of Butler, Minnesota. Mailing address: c/o 57189 Co. Hwy.62 New York Mills, MN 56567
Arrangements were provided by Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji, Minnesota.