Clinton Brandt

 

by Teresa Ohlrich Johnson

 

Clinton Brandt has worked around electronics, radar, and navigation systems both in the military and as a civilian for most of his life.  He has navigated through his personal life with such extraordinary service to family, church, community, and country that the Braunfels Foundation Trust has named Clinton Brandt a Living Legend of New Braunfels.

Brandt was born in 1932 in Fashing, Texas.  Originally from the New Braunfels area, Clinton’s father lost his job as a taxi driver during the Depression, and as conditions worsened, the family moved to a farm near Fashing where they lived in a converted hay barn.

As the Depression wound down, the Brandts returned to New Braunfels and six-year-old Clinton started school in a one room schoolhouse off Highway 46 near Smithson Valley.  When the family moved into town, Clinton attended schools in New Braunfels and graduated from New Braunfels High School in 1951.  While working at the downtown Capital Theatre, Clinton met cashier, Doris Wegner, and the two developed a relationship that has lasted a lifetime.

The day following graduation, Clinton began his basic training in the United States Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base and later at Sheppard Air Force Base.  Eventually, Clinton was sent to Airborne Electronics school where after twenty-one weeks he was asked to become an instructor.

When the Air Force needed volunteers to go to Korea in 1954, Brandt answered the call.  Toward the end of the conflict, Brandt was sent to a troop carrier squadron in Japan, was quickly promoted and put in charge of the squadron’s electronics.  During this time, he continued making innovations to a variety of radio and navigation systems.  For his service, Clinton was awarded the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal.

Clinton returned to New Braunfels in 1955, and he and Doris were married.  He began his career with the Federal Aviation Agency working on several types of ground navigation systems until his retirement some thirty years later.

Brandt’s volunteer service hasn’t been limited to just one area of interest.  In 1990, Brandt was elected to the New Braunfels City Council and a year later served as Mayor.  He was Fund Drive Chairman for the United Way in 1988-89, and this year marks the thirtieth anniversary that he and Doris have been delivering Meals on Wheels.  Brandt is a member of and served as President of the Evening Lions Club in 2004-05.  He became a member of the Wurstfest Association in 1973 and has served on almost every committee.  He served on the Board of Directors, as Wurstfest President in 1988, as Grosse Opa and currently is an Opa Emeritus.

With five children in school, Brandt involved himself in the volunteer opportunities available in the NBISD.  He was a member of the New Braunfels High School PTA, did a two-year term as Band Booster President, and volunteered with the New Braunfels Little League.  He and Doris taught Sunday school, and Brandt served as Superintendent of Sunday School and on the Church Council at First Protestant Church.

Clinton Brandt’s professional career was really always about getting people to the right place at the right time.  This is probably why he was so intrigued with the restoration, repair, and maintenance of the mechanical tower clock at First Protestant Church.  This clock, installed in 1905, is one of the few remaining mechanical clocks in the United States. When the clock stopped working sometime in the late 1970s.  Brandt volunteered to use his expertise and determination to fix and maintain the clock.  Every week for the last thirty years, Brandt has wound and maintained the iconic eight-day clock.

For all these extraordinary contributions, The Braunfels Foundation Trust felt it was high time to name Clinton Brandt a Living Legend of New Braunfels.