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A Brotherly Tribute to Douglas Lee Brand

UPublish story by David C. Brand

Doug was a dear older brother to Don and me. We are thankful for the last time we had together with Doug and his family when they came to Ohio, and for the telephone conversations we shared since then. I also am glad for a lengthy telephone conversation I had with Phyllis the week before Doug’s passing. Don and Joan and Marilyn and I spent Christmas day together and enjoyed conversation reminiscing about what an outstanding brother Doug was during our youth and adult years. He has been a great encouragement to us. We enjoy memories of the crowd's excitement in seeing Doug play basketball when he would spark the high school team leaping high to tip the ball into the basket.

Doug’s moving to Florida several years after his marriage to Phyllis was the fulfillment of a desire he had had since his teen-age years. He loved the water, was an excellent figure skater, canoeist, water-skier, ice-boater, and boat racing enthusiast. Doug was part of a dance routine in an Akron ice show which featured David Jenkins who went on to win the Olympic men’s title just as his brother Hayes Jenkins had done four years earlier. Lacking only the flare and polish that go with professional instruction, Doug could do just about everything Jenkins did. As his brothers who ourselves were involved in sports, we concede that Doug embodied the real athleticism in the family. It requires a certain courage and skill to go airborne over the ice while extending the legs in a horizontal spread and touching your toes, or doing a mid-air spin. It also requires natural athleticism, a lot of hard work, and endurance.

In 1955 Doug’s racing boat appeared on the front page of a national boating magazine with another boat piercing it like a knife stuck through a piece of wood. He placed second in the class A competition at Chautauqua Lake, NY., but his friend who had borrowed the boat for the class B event crashed on the first turn. Doug was quite active in the American Power Boat Association and was highly rated in national competition in outboard racing both as a driver and an owner. At a very young age Doug learned to set an outboard motor on a boat so that only the propeller was submerged when the boat was running at top speed.

Being the older of the two younger brothers, I had the privilege of being “best man” in Doug’s and Phyl’s wedding, and he agreed to do the same when Marilyn and I walked the aisle together. He leaves behind his dear wife Phyllis whom he met during student days at Kent State University, daughter Kimberly (who like her mother is a retired school teacher), and two fine grandsons, Sean and Evan, now in high school. In addition to getting fully involved with Doug’s boat racing, Phyllis was honored as "Teacher of the Year" in Florida. Upon moving to Florida, Doug managed a W. T. Grant Store and later became founder and president of H2O Systems in the Cape Coral area. His work ethic was one of Christian integrity; consequently his customers knew they could rely upon him to get the job done right. 

During the summertime of his teen-age years Doug worked at Burch’s Landing Canoe Livery on Portage Lakes Drive south of Akron. And Doug taught me how to handle a canoe in the middle of West Reservoir one windy day. When the waves develop, go right at them. Face the waves--that is the secret to staying afloat in a canoe on a large lake. And when the waves became large, Doug would immediately drop to his knees to lower his center of gravity and move toward the center of the canoe for greater stability. Doug even taught me what to do when the canoe upsets or gets swamped by waves–how to shake out the water in the middle of the lake and paddle it to shore even if the paddles are lost.

What amazing lessons with such application for life! Do not run from conflict or sorrow, but face it head-on. And when things get really rough, and preferably before, fall to your knees before the Heavenly Father. Lower your center of gravity, for He is in heaven and you are on earth. Be still and know that He is God! And if you are up the creek without a paddle, 

get busy. Use your hands! They make good canoe paddles when you lie prostrate over the front of the canoe! And it never hurts to prostrate yourself before the Almighty! That’s always progress.

Our Elder Brother Jesus, the Son of God has visited this planet in the incarnation and has faced every challenge that we will ever face including a couple of rough boat outings, and a whole lot more–even conquering temptation, sin, and death on our behalf. He is our everlasting hope and victory. Let us commit our souls to Jesus, our Elder Brother and he will see us through whatever lies ahead. It is such a privilege to have an older brother, and how we miss them when they leave us. But Jesus has said, “I will never leave you not forsake you!”

David C. Brand

Howard, OH


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