It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Clem Brau on September 14, 2023. Born on June 25, 1922 in Lucan, MN and a long-time resident of Redwood Falls, MN, Clem died peacefully at Rosemount Senior Living, Rosemount, MN. Clem was married to his loving and devoted wife, Betty for 69 years.
Clem was an accomplished pianist, instrumentalist (trumpet, saxophone and clarinet) and music composer/arranger. He began playing in area bands while he was still in high school. At the same time, he wrote and arranged music for what would become The Clem Brau Orchestra. After high school, he was drafted, auditioned and became the youngest member of the Air Force’s Hammer Field Bombasies near Fresno, CA, playing in backup bands for shows featuring celebrities Red Skelton, Danny Kaye and many more. The outfit was stationed overseas in New Guinea during World War II until he was honorably discharged from the Air Force.
After his military service, Clem spent a year writing more arrangements for a larger repertoire with a wider range of styles. He re-formed The Clem Brau Orchestra (swing music) co-leading the band with his brother Harold (1920-2016). They also formed The Jolly Lumberjacks (old-time polkas and waltzes) and The Versatiles combo. Harold and Clem, with their band of talented area musicians, entertained thousands of dancers in ballrooms and town halls throughout the upper Midwest for 50 years. They were both inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in 1995. Clem was also a church organist for 13 years often getting home from a dance at 5 a.m. and staying up to play at the early service.
Clem was preceded in death by grandson Robert Joseph Brau, parents Joseph and Rosa Brau and siblings Leonard, Hildegarde, Norbert, and Harold. Clem will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered by wife Elizabeth (Betty) and children Randy, Terry (Donna), Kathy (Tim), Shary (Brian), and Tom, grandchildren Katy (Blake), Rachel (Brian), Julia (Hunter), and Brian Jr. (Patrice) and great grandchildren Eleanor, Ronan, Cecilia and Royce.
An honorary memorial service was led by staff for the residents of the Rosemount and was followed by a private family service.
Cards of condolences to the family can be sent to Betty at Rosemount Senior Living, Unit 221, 14344 Cameo Avenue West, Rosemount, MN 55068.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Clem’s honor may be sent to the Robert J Brau Family Foundation, 5183 109th Ave NE, Spicer, MN 56288
The family extends special thanks to the devoted staffs from Brighton Hospice and Rosemount Senior Living for their loving and compassionate care.