Katherine Rae Brandt
September 23, 1958 – May 25, 2021
Kathy Brandt, loving wife, wonderful mother, and dear friend and co-worker of many, died on May 25, 2021 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She is preceded in death by father, Jerold Hansen. Survived by husband of 38 years, Jeff Brandt; children, Calvin and Quinn Brandt; mother, Kay Hansen; sisters: Cindy Vogel, Deb Lane, Tami Curran. Kathy’s wishes were to be cremated.
VISITATION WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Wednesday, June 16th from 3pm to 5pm at the West Center Chapel, 7805 W Center Road, Omaha, NE with MEMORIAL SERVICE /CELEBRATION to follow at 5pm. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to Children’s Hospital and Medical Center Foundation (childrensomaha.org.), Griefs Journey (thecollectiveforhope.org), or to a charity of choice.
Katherine Rae Brandt was born to Jerry and Kay Hansen on the first day of Fall in 1958. Moorhead, Iowa was her home until graduating from East Monona High School in 1977. Kathy underwent treatment for ovarian cancer at the age of 18 — and at the time of her passing from pancreatic cancer was a 44-year cancer survivor. Dad was a farmer, as were several of Kathy’s relatives (from the Hansen, Johnson, and Martin families). Kathy learned to play the flute and the piano. She had many cousins (and second cousins) close to her in age, and they remain close-knit. Kathy was a standout in softball and basketball. Her fondest memory is practicing her pitching with Dad as her catcher; he somehow managed to never miss a single softball or basketball game.
1977-1983. Omaha, Nebraska. Kathy (or Kath, to many) spent one year at Dana College and then worked in fashion merchandising, mostly as manager with Tobers retail store, while earning a degree in social work from University of Nebraska Omaha. She met Jeff, a Naval Officer from Papillion, Nebraska in May of 1981 at the wedding of Mark and Pam, mutual friends who had insisted that Kathy and Jeff would make a good couple. Kathy’s relationship with Jeff was mostly a long distance one, with many letters, that forever changed on the large oceanside rocks of Newport, RI, when Jeff proposed to her on the first day of Spring in 1983. They were married eight weeks later on May 15th at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Omaha.
1983-1986. Honolulu, Hawaii. It was beaches, beaches, and more beaches when Jeff’s ship was not at sea. When he was gone, Kathy spent spare time with officer wives and girlfriends while earning a masters degree in social work from the University of Hawaii and gaining experience with a community center for children. There is the magical story of Nettie, whose father had been pastor at Moorhead’s Lutheran church until Kathy’s 4th grade. The two girls stayed in touch all those years, seeing each other just one time. Nettie left her life in Ohio to stay with Kathy for six months during Jeff’s first deployment. Then she met and married Rick, a fellow officer on Jeff’s ship, in 1988.
1986-1990. Plano, Texas. Kathy worked for Hope Cottage in Dallas after Jeff took employment with Texas Instruments. With so much time together, they became involved with three leagues of softball, golf, and their church, Resurrection Lutheran. The last 5 months of this time period had Kathy and Jeff back in Omaha to sell their rental property.
1990-1999. Terre Haute, Indiana. Kathy found her social work passion as a clinical therapist for adolescents with Hamilton Center, a non-profit community mental health organization. The joys of her life, Calvin and Quinn, were born in 1994 and 1996, respectively. Each was openly adopted at birth, and each came into the world on beautiful October days. 1991 brought Olga into her life as a foreign exchange student. She and Lyle and young Katya (named after Kathy) have remained dear to Kathy and Jeff.
1999-2006. Fishers, Indiana. Kathy and Jeff alternated part-time employment while raising the boys until Jeff began a new career as a high school math teacher. Frequent trips to Chicago and Detroit (where two of Jeff’s sisters, and Olga, lived) continued from the early 90’s. Kathy and Jeff enjoyed the friendship with their neighbors of a lifetime, the Smith family. They also had the good fortune of having good friend Karen and family in Grinnell, Iowa to stay with and break up the long drive to and from Omaha. The last two years found Kathy working full-time as the manager and lead social worker for a new Hamilton Center branch in the Indianapolis area. An opportunity to move to Omaha, near families, came from Childrens Hospital and Medical Center.
2006-2021. Omaha, Nebraska. Beginning work in the upstart eating disorders clinic at Childrens, Kathy transferred to family behavioral health. Kathy has fond memories of her co-workers and office staff there – as well as those in the pediatric offices when Kathy became the first Manager of Patient Care Coordination with Childrens Physicians. Responsible for social workers and nurse case managers assigned to pediatric clinics throughout the area as well as those assigned to specialty clinics at the hospital, Kathy helped grow the enterprise to what it is today while earning the respect and trust of all.
Raising money for a great cause, Kathy served 6 years as annual walk coordinator for the Nebraska Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Her joy for life can perhaps be best summarized by her love for walking — though many friends and co-workers will say that its her love for laughter. Kathy spent many miles with many friends, walking and talking — many more with Jeff, and many more than that, just alone. There are few trails in the Omaha area that have not been graced with her presence. The same can be said of miles of Florida gulf coastline, Kathy’s favorite vacation spot. Kathy and Jeff’s last vacation was in March 2020, to Galveston Island and then onto the Hill Country of Texas to stay with Nettie and Rick. Kathy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer five weeks later.
Kathy’s ashes have been provided to her family in two containers – one for a columbarium niche at Omaha National Cemetery and the other for scattering in the Gulf of Mexico. Kathy loved the ocean more than anything – except for people.