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Robert J. Brau

Robert Joseph Brau, 21, died as a result of a car/motorcycle accident near Montrose, MN on Thursday, August 14, 2014. He is the only son of Terry and Donna Brau, but his family extends beyond imaginable boundaries.

Memorial services will be 4:30 p.m. Thursday, August 21, at Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, August 20, at the Church of St. Mary in Willmar and one hour prior to the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Robert Brau Memorial Scholarship Fund. Arrangements are with Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar (

From the moment he arrived, we knew that this baby would change everything! We laughed, we cried and wondered so much every day! We showered him with love and affection and eventually learned to channel that love through routines, limitations, and guidance. Robert was our "daily fix" of wonder and joy. He was, and always will be, our miracle baby. It has been immensely joyful in every way to be a part of watching Robert grow. He is just the son we always dreamed of, in every way. Looking at him always showed that he was a young man with so much to share. He was gifted and talented in so many ways, some of which we all knew, some that were yet to come. Our love for him was and still is completely unconditional and undeniable. No matter what he did, where he traveled, or how his spirit now surrounds us, we will always be grateful to him, and indebted to him, for helping us know the truest and purest depths of love.

From his first days, Robert found joy in so many things. He was inquisitive and bright and ready for exploration, excited, soothed and intrigued by music, always happy, always busy, and always hungry. He found his way into the hearts of all who met him quickly and firmly. Robert loved to be busy ("but not too busy") and he loved spending time with friends and family. It was clear that he loved talking, laughing, making movies, playing games, and eating! He genuinely seemed to enjoy hanging out with Mom and Dad, especially when that time included anything musical - listening, playing or recording. Special family times included: sailing, biking, gardening, ponding, movies, vacations (especially those involving water like the many times spent in Bayfield, WI), and the sharing of many special holiday traditions.

He was a 2011 High Honors Graduate of Willmar Senior High School and while there participated in every musical group available to him, including all of the band and choir ensembles and small groups, the orchestra, musicals pit orchestras, Pep and Jazz bands. He started swimming as a baby, really, and became a very dedicated member of the WHS Swim Teams. Upon graduation Robert received many awards including the "AAA Award for Excellence in Academics, Arts and Athletics" and many college scholarships.

After graduation, Robert was accepted at the University of Minnesota and began studies in sciences and music. However, his passion for music won through and he was accepted into the Universitys School of Music and officially declared his major in "Classical Guitar Performance." He was exuberant and honored to be selected as a member of the University of Minnesota Marching Band and became part of the leadership team for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He often referred to the Marching Band as his "Away from Home Family".

No matter where he went, his best friends were always with him, even if the miles (or realms) separated them. Those young men are Drew Larson, Sam Benson, Troy Stulen, Patrick Rieland and Cooper Willis.

Robert is survived by his Parents Terry and Donna Brau, Grandparents Clem and Betty Brau, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins: Randy Brau, Tim and Kathy (Brau) Verbrugge, Katy and Rachel, Brian and Shary (Brau) Vance, Julia and BJ, Tom Brau, Bruce and Stephanie Berger and family, the Love of his life: Abby Nash, and chosen family: The Marcus, Andersons, Faders, Kratzkes, Laurie Summerland and Ginger Thomsen, Larsons, Bensons and Stulens and many, many extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his Grandparents Robert and Kathleen Berger.

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise

and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance. ~Kahlil Gibran