CLAY "BUD" WILLMERT BRACE
September 27, 1928 ~ May 13, 2018
Clay "Bud" Willmert Brace, 89, died at his home in Vancouver, WA. He was born in a log cabin in Hope, ND on to Alma (Willmert) Brace and Clay Samuel Brace. The Brace family moved to McMinnville, OR in 1927 to farm just before the Great Depression. The family later moved to Luck, WI, where Bud graduated from high school.
After graduation, in 1948, Bud joined the Marine Corp and trained at Camp Pendleton. He was assigned the job of field radio operator, deployed to the Korean War in 1950.
While at Camp Pendleton, Bud met Yayita "Liz" Isaacs at a USO event where her dance troupe was performing for the troops. The couple exchanged letters during his deployment and married in 1952 in Long Beach, CA.
Bud was honorably discharged later that year and he and Liz settled in Oregon where he started a long career as heavy equipment operator. Bud's work meant he traveled many weeks out of the year. He and Liz set up temporary homes in many locations throughout their marriage. Their three children were born in McMinnville. In the early 1960's they moved to the family farm in Hope, ND, and spent seven years farming. Bud and Liz returned their family to the Pacific Northwest and have remained here ever since. Bud continued in heavy-equipment operation and worked on many notable projects across the region, retiring at age 69.
Bud and Liz traveled extensively in their retirement, spending a great deal of time discovering the American West. He also became very involved in "The Chosin Few", a national group of former Marine Brothers who had served in the gruesome Battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. Bud was on the board of the local Oregon chapter for many years. He was also a dedicated volunteer for the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Museum in Brooks, Oregon.
Bud was always happy when his extended family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered for celebrations and barbecues.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Liz; daughter, Anita Calnan (John) of Ridgefield; sons, Tim Brace (Lois) and Mike Brace of Vancouver, WA; sisters, Dorothy Lutes and Phyllis Filipek; 8 grandchildren living in Oregon, Washington, Arizona and South Africa; 5 great-grandchildren and 2 more on the way.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Caroline Hetrick.
Bud was interred with a private service at Northwood Park Cemetery in Ridgefield.
Remembrances can be made in honor of Bud to: Korean War Veterans Memorial http://www.koreanwarvetsmemorial.org/the-memorial/