April 17, 1916-Aug. 2, 2004
BOARDMAN - A memorial service for Arnold James Braat will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Hopewell Community Church, 21600 S.E. Church Road, in Dayton, Ore. Graveside inurnment will follow at the Hopewell Cemetery in Hopewell, Ore.
Mr. Braat, 88, died Monday, Aug. 2nd, 2004, at Good Samaritan Center in Hermiston.
He was born April 17, 1916, at Dayton, to Maarten and Leah L. Rusk Braat.
On Feb. 3rd, 1952, he and his wife, Mary Lou, were married at the Unionvale Community Church.
They lived in the Dayton/Unionvale, area until 1959, when they moved to Eastern Oregon where he enjoyed developing raw acreage into farmland.
Mr. Braat never officially retired from farming or telling jokes and tall tales. He was known as the "Storyteller." He always enjoyed watching crops and animals grow and had an amazing ability to predict the weather through his acute observation of nature.
He was a life member of the Farm Bureau Association and served as president of the Umatilla/Morrow chapter for 10 years. Mr. Braat was the judge for the tractor pulling contest at the Umatilla County Fair for many years.
He spoke to the Oregon State Legislature several times as a representative for the farmer's side of the issues, but only after he told the Legislature a joke.
Mr. Braat enjoyed studying Law and used his knowledge in court. He is the author of the shortest legal brief submitted to the Oregon Supreme Court. (Did he win the case? Yes!) He wrote a joke book, "Bits of Braats Baloney" and his jokes were also published in Farm & Ranch, Nostalgic, and Reader Digest magazines and read internationally. He also won first place in the Pendleton Rendezvous Liar's contest one year. One German fan compared Arnold's tall tales to the famous Baron von Munchhausen.
He enjoyed music and performed in USO clubs during World War II. It's believed that he owned the first semi-truck in the Willamette Valley.
He enjoyed attending the annual Umatilla Electric Co-op meetings.
Mr. Braat always took the time to help other people.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Mary Lou Braat, of Boardman; son, Loren Braat of Fairbanks, Alaska; daughters, Dr. Lynel Braat of Portland, Gelene Brizendme of Enterprise, and Connie Braat; a granddaughter, Brady Brizendine and a great-grandson. Mr. Braat was preceded in death by five sisters, Doris Braat, Pauline Fowler, Agnes Jensen, Delphine Finnicum, and Shirley Lee.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Unionvale Community Church, 18725 S.E. Wallace Road, Dayton, OR 97114 or the Boardman Senior Center at 209 N.W. First St., Boardman, OR 97818.
Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in charge of arrangements.