Gerald “Gerry” Brazones
May 10, 1929 ~ November 25, 2019
Gerald “Gerry” Brazones, aka “Mr. Wonderful”, 90, Sioux Falls, SD, passed away November 25, 2019. His burial and Celebration of Life was postponed due to the COVID pandemic. His Funeral Service was held July 31, 2021, with his family.
Condolences can be sent to the family at PO Box 91123, Sioux Falls, SD, 57109.
Gerry was born on May 10, 1929, to Marie “Mary” and Peter Brazdzons in Racine, Wisconsin, and grew up there with his seven brothers and sisters. His family changed the spelling of the last name to Brazones at a later date. He married the love of his life, Suzette Yvonne LaFrance, on June 29, 1957. Together, they raised six children. For those of you that didn’t know our dad, we want to share some bits and pieces that made him the man we knew and loved.
Gerry was a master story and joke teller with a polished comedian’s sense of timing. He knew exactly the right place to embellish a tale and when to deliver a punchline. He had a great sense of humor and his belly laugh was contagious. He gave the best hugs and had a smile that could light up any room. When you got a hug from Gerry, it was memorable.
Gerry grew up in the Great Depression and could never throw things away because he might need them some day. No matter what you needed, he would venture into the basement or garage and somehow miraculously find exactly what you needed from his collection of odds and ends. We never had to send a search party to the garage or basement to find him, but came close a few times. When he didn’t have what you needed, he was a master at “Jerry Rigging” almost anything to extend the useful life until a more permanent solution was found. It was seldom elegant, but it always worked. We learned a lot from him.
Our dad loved listening to his wife, Suzette and her piano students play the piano. He had a repertoire of funny songs from his childhood. When an appropriate situation arose, he would sing a ditty which made people smile. He is the one that taught us most of the campfire songs we sang as children. At family gatherings and holidays, we all circled around the piano and sang songs together or went Christmas caroling to the neighbors’ houses. We love these memories.
Gerry helped us build legendary snow forts in the winter and taught us to use metal garbage can lids as shields during snowball fights. The man was a genius. Our side of the street always won the snowball challenges in the snow fortress he helped us build. He taught us how to fish with bamboo poles and took us camping, often to explore new state parks and nature. We loved these adventures.
Gerry loved horticulture and experimenting in his garden. Our dad was naturally curious about many things from horticulture experiments in his garden, history, and learning how things worked. He loved the continuing education classes he took at SDSU, well into his late 80’s.
Gerry loved the culinary arts and tinkering around in the kitchen exploring new recipies. He is most remembered for the great entrees he prepared and the largest number of dirty dishes left behind. He loved making bread and experimenting with new sauces. He loved cooking with wine and sometines he even put it in the food.
Our dad enjoyed lap swimming at the Sanford Fitness Center. What he loved the most was the people he met and saw everyday. He started a numbers racket when he picked up the study of Numerolgy as a way to exercise his mind and keep it sharp. If you told him your first and middle name, he’d tell you your lucky number and life profile. He never did figure out the Powerball numbers, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Our dad would sing a song he wrote called “The Wonderful” to family and friends on their Birthday. As a result, his Sanford friends and others started calling him “Mr. Wonderful”.
Gerald served in the Air Force in 1952 for the 78th Air Base Squadron in Madison, WI. He was a Territory Manager for Will Ross Inc. Later in his life, he became an insurance agent with Dick Dougherty & Associates until he retired. His greatest accomplishment was being a great husband and father. Lucky us.
Gerald is survived by five wonderful children; Marie, Annette, Mark, Erik, and Steven.
Gerald is preceded in death by his wife, Suzette; son, Karl; his parents, Marie “Mary” and Peter Brazones; brothers, Carl, Dick, and Don Brazones; and sisters, Marie Benner, Evie Foster, and Sally Knapp.
We are so grateful that God choose him to be our dad. We love and miss you.