Middleton – Hubert C. “Sonny” Brabender, 84, of Madison, died on Friday April 16, 2021 at Madison University Hospital of a severe stroke suffered on March 29.
He was born on May 16, 1936 in Madison, son of Hubert P. and Rosalia (Friedl) Brabender.
Hubert, better known as Herb, spent the first five years of his life in Madison with his parents, until he moved to the family farm in Ashton in 1941. He graduated from elementary school. Catholic Ashton St. Peter, then graduated from Middleton High School in 1955 after writing in baseball, basketball, football and track. Herb was a member of the 1954 Middleton High School basketball team that went to the state tournament. School principal Meyer often berated him, “If only you would work so hard for your academics.” During the summers, Herb played on the Ashton Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) baseball team and hung out with his pals, Joel Larson, Kenny Bram, Jim Shaksted and others, creating havoc and having fun. .
After graduating from high school, he served in the US Air Force for eight years and was a proud member of VFW Post No. 8483, Madison. During his years of service he spent time in Guam and was on duty during the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956. He claims he was shot at at the time – we are not sure, but that made a good story. He cheated death once when he was young, when runaway horses gave him a wild ride on a farm cart. He was saved when his front wheel hit a rock and brought him to safety, just before the cart’s tongue impaled on the side of the chicken coop. We know this story was true because there were witnesses.
He was also a proud teammate, with trucking routes through Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin during his years on the job. Herb loved to work with wood, play cards, fish and spend time on the Brabender family farm. You can still find his initials written on the walls of the attic and etched in the concrete next to the barn.
Herb is survived by his sisters, Joyce A. (Joseph) Mulhern, Madison and Debra R. Tracy, Middleton; brothers, Earyl A. (Angie) Brabender, Madison, Wayne W. (Kirsten) Brabender, Middleton and Jerry B. (Susie) Brabender, Oregon; sons, Michael Lee Brabender, Little Rock, AR and Herbie Brabender, Guthrie, OK; daughters, Tracye (Tony) Wickliffe, Little Rock and Amber Brabender of Edmond, OK; stepdaughters, Cynthia, Tammie and Teresa; five grandchildren, Teresa, Jacob, Jarod, Irishman and Jordan; 13 nephews and nieces, and too many cousins and friends to count.
His parents died before him; first wife, Bobbye Dean Hand; second wife, Betty Ann Curlee; special friend, Patricia J. Danielson; brother-in-law, Jeffrey L. Tracy; and his stepson, Billy Charles Martindale.
Many thanks to UW Hospital ICU and the other staff for their compassionate care and concern during Herb’s last trying days. He couldn’t have been in better hands.
Due to Covid concerns, a private family funeral will take place on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery, Ashton, just 800 meters from the family farm. A memorial service for Herb is scheduled for this summer.
Memorials can be donated in Herb’s name at Agrace Hospice Care, Madison, (www.agrace.org) or UW Carbon Cancer Center (www.cancer.wisc.edu).
Online condolences can be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
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