Richard Neil Brandenburg
October 19, 1933 - November 28, 2015
Richard Brandenburg's life ended peacefully on Saturday, November 28th at his home in Mill Creek, with his wife Shirley at his side. He was 82.
Richard Neil Brandenburg was born in Tacoma on October 19, 1933. He spent his youth in Bremerton where he graduated from Bremerton High School. As a youngster, he sold the Seattle Star outside the gates of the naval shipyard, and celebrated VJ Day with hundreds in downtown Bremerton. He baked donuts at Moultray's, and through his involvement in DeMolay he developed a lifelong commitment to community service.
After one year at Washington State College he transferred to the University of Washington. Richard graduated in 1955 with a degree in Economics. He was a life-long Husky fan and season ticket holder for over 35 years. He was a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity and continued a life long commitment serving on the International Board of Directors 1988-1992. His most fun during his college years was two summers spent as a crew member of an oil tanker traveling the west coast and the Hawaiian islands. He told a great story of swimming ashore in Lahaina and being invited to a Hawaiian family luau, 'South Pacific' style.
Through ROTC at the UW, Richard earned a commission in the Air Force and in August 1955 began service at Ernst Harmon SAC Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland as Captain-Air Police. He rose to the position of Chief of Police, Squadron Commander, and Base Provost Marshall.
With his tour complete, Richard returned to Seattle to begin his business career. He became the first commercial office leasing broker in Seattle and was the leasing agent for the original Seafirst Building and the Bank of California building. His professional career included Coldwell Banker, Pentagram Corporation, Kidder Mathews & Segner and finally his own company, The Brandenburg Co. His most unique sales event was selling the bankrupt Smith Tower to Ivar Haglund and then nine years later, selling the Tower for Ivar to a group from California. He was the developer of the Winslow Mall and the Day Road Business Park on Bainbridge Island. He may well have been the only person ever to: touch the light bulb at the top of the Smith Tower; fly off the top of the SeaFirst building in a helicopter; and hit wiffle ball golf balls off the roof of the Space Needle. He loved downtown Seattle, its changing skyline, and contributing to its development. At the end of his career he was drawn back to Bremerton. Dick spent the last five years before retirement as the Director of the Port of Bremerton, championing economic development in his home town.
Dick spent most of his life in community service. He was a dedicated Rotarian for 45 years. In 1990 he was among a group of Rotarians invited by the Soviet Peace Fund for round-table discussions in Moscow regarding Perestroika and capitalism. The group participated in the first Rotary Club meeting in Moscow. Richard was a member of the Paul Glaser Foundation for 35 years. The Glaser Foundation honored him for his service by creating the Richard Brandenburg/Glaser Foundation Endowment for the YMCA. This funds will be allocated to fund camping for needy children. He also was interested in Camp Side-by-Side that provides camping experiences for children with cancer. He also served on the Boards or was a member of Children's Trust Foundation, Chief Seattle Council Boy Scouts of America, Homeland Foundation, past President of the Seattle-King County Building Owners and Managers Association, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce President's Club.
Dick had his share of adventures. Whether in the wheelhouse or galley of fishing vessels he & his buddies would ferry from Fisherman's Terminal to Craig, Alaska, fly-in fishing trips with buddies or overnights in the Olympics with his son Jeff's Scout troop, the common denominator was always shared times with those he loved. Dick and Shirley loved to travel. From their honeymoon cruise to Italy and Turkey, trips to Norway with the grandkids, and their last great adventure to see Rio and cruise the Amazon, they loved nothing more than being together in a foreign city.
The greatest love of his life was Shirley, his wife of 35 years, and the greatest joy of his life was his family. He loved his daughters Linda (Jeff Johnson) Brandenburg, Anne (James Bittner) Woodford, and Paige (Morten) Blomso, and his sons Jeff (Ardell) Brandenburg and Cameron (Lindsey) Fletcher; but he REALLY loved his grandchildren. Whether called Opa, Beste, Baba, or Grandpa Dick, he always offered a lap to sit on, a smile or a joke, and as they got older, an e-mail or text message for Anders, Britt, & Maren Blomso, Amelia & Aidan Woodford, or Wyatt and Sadie Fletcher. From the side lines at countless soccer games, swim meets, and basketball games or in the kitchen for some holiday baking, Richard was a constant presence in their lives, as they were in his. He shared his faith and his political views and his concern for the future with them.
A memorial service will be held January 27th, 2:00pm at the University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. Remembrances for Richard's life may be sent to: Side-by-Side Ministry/University Presbyterian Church, 4540 15th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105