Carol Brakke


Carol Brakke, age 73, of Big Timber passed away on December 14, 2013 surrounded by her three children following an unexpected and severe stroke. 

Carol was born in Jordan, Montana on July 6, 1940. She moved to Miles City with her parents and five brothers when she was a teenager. They lived on Stower Street in a cozy little home that would become a common place for future generations to gather and enjoy many great times. 

It was in Miles City that she met her husband Grayson. Grayson and Carol moved to Big Timber in 1970 when they purchased Brakke’s Body Shop. Carol stayed at home with her kids until they went to school, but did the accounting for the business and helped care for the livestock on their acreage North of Big Timber. Carol worked for the Big T for several years before moving on to American Bank then Citizen’s Bank where she was still working at the time of her death.

She was a hard worker who never took a sick day in her life. She loved her job at the bank. That was her social outlet and kept her active. She was someone who people looked to for help and support and she always gave it. As a strong, independent woman she often put others before herself. She was married for 50 years and cared for her husband at home until his death three years ago.

Her children and grandchildren were very important. She probably attended more soccer, basketball, volleyball, and cheerleading events than she cared to but she was always there. She was proud of her granddaughters Shelby for doing well in college and Sidney for getting good grades and her talent for baskeball. Her grandson Danny was her little buddy. They spent many hours together and she often commented on being amazed at all the little things he noticed.

Carol was an avid reader and had an extensive music collection. She loved to dance even if it meant going out on the dance floor by herself.

Before her husband died they made an annual pilgrimage to the Sturgis bike rally where they made many good friends. She also took many trips back to Jordan for class reunions and Miles City for the Bucking Horse Sale and family gatherings. She enjoyed traveling with her brother Leif to see family in Colorado and Oregon. Recently her son took her to see Hank Williams III in concert and she had a blast.

This time of year Carol was known for making dozens of different types of holiday cookies, fudge, chex mix, and homemade eggnog which she delivered around town and mailed across the country. While the volume of her baking decreased over the years she always made her kids’ favorites, including Sandbakkels.

She is survived by her daughter Pat and husband Steve Arant, granddaughters Shelby and Sidney, grandson Danny, son Grayson Lee all of Big Timber, daughter Karen and husband Steve Gordon of Bozeman, brothers Alan (Bev) of Fruita, Colorado, Oscar (Donna) of Dickinson, North Dakota, Arvid (Linda) and Leif (Alice) of Miles City, aunt Fran (Chuck) of Hood River, Oregon and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She had special lifetime friendships with Connie (Bill) Bolton and Twila (John) Wilhelm of Miles City, Donna Schmidt of Cody, Wyoming and her niece Jan Ronning of Billings who was the sister she never had. 

She was preceded in death by her husband Grayson, parents Peter and Elizabeth Ronning and her brother Pete.

Cremation has taken place and memorial services were held 2:00 P.M. Saturday December 21, 2013 at Stenberg Funeral Home in Big Timber (215 Anderson Street). A reception followed downstairs at the American Legion Club. 

In lieu of flowers the family requests that you make a donation to your favorite charity or take a loved one out for dinner and a cold beer.