Aug. 23, 2019

Eugene “Gene” Brandt, 76, of Hutchinson passed away Friday, Aug. 23, at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. Funeral service was Saturday, Aug. 31, at Dobratz-Hantge Funeral Chapel in Hutchinson, with interment in Rosehill Cemetery in Wells.

Eugene “Gene” Harold Brandt was born Feb. 3, 1943, in Albert Lea, Minnesota. He was the son of Harold A. Brandt and Velma F. Callahan. Gene was baptized as an infant and was later confirmed in his faith as a youth, both at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wells. He received his education in Minnesota Lake and was a graduate of Minnesota Lake High School Class of 1961. He furthered his education at St. Olaf College in Northfield for one year until he transferred to Minnesota State University Mankato, where he received a bachelor of science degree in education. During college, Gene achieved a black belt in karate and taught self-defense to women. He also entertained and performed over 110 skydiving jumps in front of crowds, which helped him pay for college. Later on, Gene went back to school while working and achieved his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and also a third degree in educational administration at Mankato.

On Aug. 20, 1966, Gene was united in marriage to Betty Pedersen at Peace Lutheran Church in Ruthton. This marriage was blessed with three children, Kathleen, Ann and Thomas. Gene and Betty resided and worked in several towns in Minnesota including Gibbon, Ruthton, Alden, Canby, Grand Rapids, Henderson, Big Fork, Sleepy Eye and, in 2015, they made their home in Hutchinson. Gene and Betty shared 53 years of marriage together.

Gene started his teaching career as a chemistry, history, geography and physics teacher in Gibbon for 16 years. While in Gibbon, he also coached football, ran chess club and helped found its first responder rescue squad with the fire department. He was then employed as a principal in Ruthton for three years and he helped found its first responder rescue squad too. Gene was superintendent at Alden, then a curriculum coordinator in Canby. Next, Gene was a principal in Henderson until the school closed. He then was the principal in Big Fork until finally being the director of instruction in Sleepy Eye. He retired from Sleepy Eye at the age of 55.

Gene loved to joke around and was a great story teller. He enjoyed fishing, John Deere tractors, drinking coffee and reading and writing. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family, grandchildren and friends.

Blessed be his memory.

Gene is survived by his wife Betty Brandt of Hutchinson; children, Kathleen Brandt-Rucker and her special friend, Johann Sonnenberg, of Pine Island, Ann “Annie” Kosel and her husband, Kirk, of Hutchinson and Thomas Brandt and his wife, Rachel, of Nashville, Tennessee; grandchildren, Grace Rucker, Matthew Rucker, Olivia Kosel, Addison Kosel and Julia Kosel; mother Velma Brandt of Hutchinson; sisters, Nadine Dzick of Madison, Wisconsin and Gloria Pearson and her husband, Trent, of New Ulm; brother Harlan Brandt and his wife, Karen, of Black River Falls; brother-in-law Harvey Pedersen and his wife, Marlene, of Lamberton; and nieces, nephews and many other relatives and friends.

Gene was preceded in death by his father Harold Brandt; father and mother-in-law Harry and Jennie Pedersen; and brothers-in-law, James Pedersen and Donald Pedersen.

Arrangements by Dobratz-Hantge Funeral Chapel in Hutchinson. Online obituaries and guestbook available at

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