Donald Niel Braunagel born March 1, 1945, achieved the checkered flag of life May 20, 2023, surrounded by his children, Donnie, Cheryl, and Dennis. He was a man with knowledge to share and a good joke to enjoy.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 AM, Wednesday, May 24, at Eastgate Funeral Service, 2302 East Divide Ave, Bismarck.
Visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 PM, Tuesday, May 23, at Eastgate Funeral Service. A time of sharing of memories will begin at 7:00 PM.
Burial will be held at 12:00 PM, Wednesday, May 24, at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan.
Donnie married Kris Eggen, June 26, 1965, and to this union four children were born. Donnie Jr. (1966), Cheryl (1968), Dennis (1970), and Kathryn (1974). Kathryn was only one day old when she passed way.
Dad was the first of seven children born to Helen and Claude Braunagel in Bismarck, ND. He spent his youth growing up on a farm in the Sterling area and often told stories of farm life and the neighbors he worked for. He and his family later moved to Bismarck when he was a teenager. He was in the US Army and stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was honorably discharged in 1963 and returned to North Dakota. He then went to work for his uncle Tony building prisons, so he and his wife Kris moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Dad understood hard work and his entire work history consisted of manual labor. He was in the construction industry for many years working for Lunn Construction for 18 years. He then became a meat cutter at B&R Grocery. Having to always work nights and weekends he decided to go back into construction but not in the “damn cold.” He went to work for 15 years at Capital City Construction doing the cabinetry in numerous buildings around town. Proving to still be hard on his body, he took a job at Missouri Slope Nursing Home working on all the walkers, wheelchairs, and light maintenance, a job he truly enjoyed. He met Gloria Hilsendeger and the two of them shared great times at many racetracks in many states. They were together until the end. Thank you Gloria, for being so good to our dad.
He was a very stoic man, expressing very little emotion (except when he was mad, you all knew he was mad). We all knew we were loved by the things he did for us. Our dad seemed to have all the answers, how to build anything, what that funny sound was in your car, or simply what to do when, most importantly, he taught us the importance of humor. Dad was always laughing and horsing around. He made everybody feel so good inside. If he started with, “did you hear the one about...” you knew a good belly laugh was coming. He knew that humor was the cure for any crappy day. Even on his days where everything on him hurt, he could still belt out a few jokes if it could make anybody smile.
Despite all these wonderful things that we have said about him, we know what we will miss the most, his sense of humor. Whether you were 10 or 75, he could make your belly hurt from laughing. He could relate to so many people. He would tell so many jokes, most of which can't be repeated here. I know he would want us all to remain humorous and positive here today, and forever.
In the end, the true measure of a person is not the wealth left behind, but the richness of the memories they gave to others. We consider ourselves fortunate for possessing a wealth of wonderful memories.
With hearts full of memories are his children, Don (Becci) Braunagel, Cheryl (Kerry) Schatz, and Dennis (Amy) Braunagel. His one and only granddaughter, who he was so proud to see graduate from law school, Jaden Braunagel (CJ Mitzel). His two grandsons, who he loved watching and attending dirt track races and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Races with, Justin Schatz and Jared Schatz. His special friend, Gloria Hilsendeger. His siblings: Linda Ohlsen (John), Ken Braunagel, Eileen Heidrich (Harry), and Cindy Vanous (Tracy). His numerous nieces and nephews who all loved their Uncle Donnie, and extended family and friends including his racing buddy, Gordy.
Celebrating his arrival in heaven is his daughter Katie, his mother and father Helen and Claude Braunagel, his sister and brother-in-law Donna and Basil Buck, his brother Ray Braunagel, our mother Kris Eggen, and numerous other family members and dear friends.
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, 1825 46th St, Mandan, ND.