Donald Brand was the youngest in his family. He was born in New Verda, Louisiana. He was a redhead and would grow up to be six feet tall. His mother was a character. He took an aptitude test to see what he would be good at and learned the trade of tool and die maker. It turned out that was a good fit for him and he made a great career out of being a tool and die maker. He trained in Louisiana but started his own company when he moved to Colorado. He was married once before and had two daughters. Later, he was gifted with a granddaughter and several grandsons as well. (He was strict as a father and shared custody with their mother.) He was able to work and earn good money, while also setting aside time to hike and enjoy nature.
He met Marilyn while folk dancing in Boulder. They enjoyed many of the same things, and she said he pushed her beyond what she thought she could do. After dating for three years they had a beautiful mountain wedding in 1979. Marilyn remembers that even though it was early June, there was snow. It was a beautiful wedding with folk dancing, and Marilyn wore flowers in her hair. They did a lot of sports: skiing, hiking, biking boating, backpacking, sea kayaking, and even white water kayaking. They had groups of friends, who also enjoyed many of these and other adventures together.
Early in their relationship, Marilyn and Don went on the motorcycle to Canada and camped the whole way. Later, they took trips with two motorcycles, one for each. Much more comfortable! They both became pilots, Don a little more excited about ·flying than Marilyn, who was the copilot. Flying allowed them the freedom to explore and travel to different parts of the country. Don was generous, and would sometimes fly company across the Colorado state line to Wyoming for breakfast. He also flew people to Utah, and other places. On one occasion they flew to Mexico and Central America. For family gatherings, they would fly in as well. Don and Marilyn flew up to Boston for-her parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. They did a folk dance for the occasion and had a wonderful time.
They also had adventures in the boonies, where sometimes, they were grateful to get back alive. One time in Alaska they starred in other people’s pictures as they kayaked near glaciers. Don had a great collection of varied music. He appreciated nature and enjoyed propelling himself forward as part of the experience. They hiked in the big mountains in Canada, Sanft, Jasper, and went to places like Glacier national park, and boated around Seattle. They often took their cat Katie camping with them on these many adventures.
Recently they moved from roughing it to a unique van with a loft-type, pop-up sleeping area. Don was interested in listening to and trying out different things. He read a lot. He enjoyed making parts for well-known companies, and sometimes even seeing their parts in the store. He enjoyed the independence his trade allowed him, and shared in the work and the time for travel with Marilyn. He was a wonderful husband. He cooked, provided, and wanted to do things together. He and Marilyn clicked pretty well on most things. She recalls their life together as pleasant and wonderful. They were still experimenting with the funnest things to do. Don was pretty relaxed in general. Marilyn said, it definitely would have been good to have him around longer. They enjoyed being together.
He expected the best out of people. When she sees a motorcycle, or fancy Luxury Van, or lots of things, she will think of Don. He will be missed.