Harold Brace, 85, went to his final home peacefully, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19. He recently was a resident of Edgewood May Creek Senior Living in Walker.
Due to COVID-19 issues funeral arrangements have not yet been planned. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Harold and his wife Jeanette Brace (to whom he was married for 66 years on Oct. 23 of this year) were both residents of Edgewood May Creek Senior Living in Walker.
Harold is survived by sons Scott (Vicki) and Jeff (Debbie), daughters Pat Dally and Sue (Tom) Adkins; grandchildren Kenny (Emily) Dally, Katie (Tom) Singleton, Grayce, Hannah, Frankie Brace, Freddie (Jess) Bentz, Ashlee (James) Mikesh, Codee Brace, Rachel and Sarah Adkins; great-grandchildren Finlee, Johnny, Jason, Maddie, Quinn and Anora; along with sister Charlene; brother Pete; and several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Harold was born in Waterloo, Iowa, June 5, 1935, graduating from East High School in 1953. He graduated from Dunwoody Technical Institute in 1957, graduating from their highway/engineering course. His first job was with S. J. Groves & Sons where he loved to tell us he “set the first slope stake” on the Illinois Toll Road and Tri-State Highway around O’Hara Airport in 1957.
Harold had several other jobs over the next 10-15 years, all based around highway and road construction, and worked in several states. In 1967 he went to work for Black Top Service in Lakeville. Blacktop Service had a sister company named Railroad Service Inc.
In 1974 Harold and his partner Don Matson were able to purchase Railroad Service and built it into one of the premiere railroad construction, maintenance and railroad rehabilitation contractors in the country performing railroad construction services in over 30 states.
Harold had many interests and hobbies throughout his life. Throughout the ‘60s and ‘70’s Harold was highly active with the Boy Scouts of America and was Scoutmaster for several years for Troop 317 in Coon Rapids. He spent countless hours on camping trips with his two sons and his scout troop. He also achieved one of the highest honors in scouting by being selected as a Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow. He also was very instrumental in forming the Coon Rapids Hockey Association and spent four years as its first president. He remembered many hours at night flooding hockey rinks outdoors so the kids could play hockey (outdoors!) the next day.
Our family vacations did not include a trip to Mexico or to a Minnesota resort. They were always with our tent, to a lake with a campground and our boat, where we would waterski, fish and cook outdoors. Sometimes it was nice, but many times it would be raining, but always the Scout Harold would insist we were having fun and that we should enjoy ourselves.
Harold also loved to hunt and spent many days afield hunting deer, elk moose, ducks, geese and pheasants with his sons and friends.
Harold and Jeanette retired in 1989, moving full-time to their lake home on Leech Lake in Agency Bay. He did not really retire, however, he continued working in the business for son Scott. He performed survey work on several railroad construction projects throughout the Midwest and helped manage many sub-contractors.
He also found a new passion while living up north with snowmobiling. He became president of the Leech Lake Riders Snowmobile Club and even donated a small piece of land for them to build their maintenance shed that was near the snowmobile trail. He also became a board member of the Minnesota United Snowmobile Association and was instrumental on legislation and state funding for our Minnesota Snowmobile Trail System. Eventually he was also elected as the national Snowmobile Association “Man of the Year” for his work in Minnesota.
Harold was also actively involved in the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association since its inception in 1972 until his retirement in 1989. He was a board member with this association and very instrumental in its early development and served on several committees and on the Board of Directors throughout his career. Early in 2020 Harold was elected to the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association’s Hall of Fame for his many years of service in the Railroad Contracting Industry and to this association.
Harold also became involved with AA in 1985 and like all things, AA became another one of his passions. He was always ready and willing to sponsor the next man who needed help. He was a regular attendee for 35 years in Walker and was always there to help the next guy get sober or straight and to share his story.
Harold loved to be involved, always had an opinion, shared it whether you wanted to hear it or not, was passionate and involved in many things. He loved his family and would do most anything for them. He will be greatly missed by all of us, but we know that he is in the arms of Jesus with a new body and is no more pain. It’s not goodbye Dad, it is see you later!
In lieu of flowers, please send any memorials to Walker Area Pregnancy Support Center, PO Box 1527, Walker, MN 56484 or pregnancyhelpmn.com
Arrangements provided by Whispering Pines Funeral and Cremation Service (www.whisperingpinesnorth.com).