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MISSOULA — Dr. Harold A. Braun, who moved to Missoula in 1955 to establish his medical practice and start a family, died March 20 at home surrounded by his children. He was 95 years old.

Hal was born in Chicago on March 19, 1924, the third of five children born to Lucy Schoening Braun and the Reverend J.J. Braun.

After graduating from Washington University, Hal entered Harvard Medical School, from which he graduated in 1947. After military service in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, Hal and his first wife, Sarah Barber-Braun moved to Missoula. They built a house in the Rattlesnake, surrounded by extraordinary neighbors, making it an ideal place to raise their three children — Paula, Julia and Daniel.

In Missoula, he served as president or board chair during the formative years of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, the String Orchestra of the Rockies, the Montana Heart Association, and the Kidney Research Fund of the University of Montana. For six decades Hal participated in the affairs of the University Congregational Church. Other volunteer activities took him to Vietnam with the U.S. Agency for International Development; to Peru and Ganado, Arizona, with Project Hope; to Honduras with Missoula Medical Aid, and to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, with the Indian Health Service. Locally, he served on the Missoula City-County Health Board and the Missoula Food Bank.

Professionally, his leadership was evident in initiating dialysis services in Missoula and the Coronary Care Training Program at St. Patrick Hospital.  During the 1980s his chief medical interest was serving the joint medical staffs of Missoula Community and St. Patrick Hospitals as chair of the Indigent Care Committee. This group garnered sufficient professional and community support that in 1990 it became possible to open a facility that became Partnership Health Center.

Dr. Braun's first medical publication was in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1951. Later there were several cardiac publications with Drs. Jerry Diettert, Paul Loehnen, and others. His medical experiences are chronicled in "Witness to Change: Half a Century in Missoula Medicine."

In 1977, Hal married Arlene Ward Braun. They shared a life of intellectual, artistic and philanthropic pursuits. Hal was an avid reader who belonged to multiple book groups and an oboist in the Missoula Civic Symphony. He and Arlene enjoyed traveling at home and abroad and volunteering at the food bank. They were conservationists who enjoyed many years working on their property in the Swan Valley, earning Tree Farmer of the Year for their forest management practices.

He enjoyed gardening, especially cultivating dahlias, sweet corn and strawberries. Arlene had endless energy to preserve their produce, allowing them to enjoy the fruits of their labor year round. During huckleberry season, we all agreed, his homemade huckleberry ice cream was the best. 

He was an avid cyclist competing locally and riding with Pam around the Olympic Peninsula and later from Missoula to Yellowstone. Winter months focused on photography and promoting Arlene’s watercolors.

Hal enjoyed corresponding in writing: from postcards to long letters. More recently, he and Arlene curated a collection of cards from her watercolors and his photographs. They enjoyed sending their cards to family and friends and did so until the very end of their lives.

Hal is survived by his younger brother Eugene (Helen) Braun of East Chatham, New York, daughter Paula Braun of Sandy, Utah, daughters Pam Dale and Karen Dale of Missoula, daughter Julia (Richard) Roth of Canyon Lake, Texas, son Daniel (Joan Goulding) of Pasadena, California, granddaughters Tegan Spangrude (Dallin Brown) of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Andrea Braun of Pasadena, grandsons Carl Spangrude of Missoula and David Braun of Pasadena, California. He was preceded in death by wife Arlene and infant son, Benjamin John.

The memorial service will be June 15, 2 p.m. at the University Congregational Church, Missoula. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests supporting the Church’s fund to improve the lighting in the sanctuary or sending checks to the Partnership Health Center of Missoula.

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the life of: Harold A. Braun, MD, FACP
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