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Reta Tatum Braune
On Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, Reta Tatum Braune went to be with the Lord after fighting a six-year battle with colon cancer.
Reta’s life began Sept. 13, 1933, in a private residence in Sutherland Springs, Texas, among the large oaks along the Cibolo River. She was raised by her parents, Lonnie Polk and Mamie Garner Tatum, and shared a storybook childhood with her siblings, Jack, Joe Wesley, Mary Lousille, and Betty.
She attended the Sutherland Springs School until it was destroyed by fire, then graduated from Floresville High School at age 16. She then moved to San Antonio to work as a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell, where she worked for 5 years. During this time, she reunited with a childhood friend, Ethel Braune, with whom she used to play on the Cibolo River when Ethel’s family would come from San Antonio to camp and fish. Ethel reintroduced Reta to her brother Freddie, and they immediately fell in love.
Reta and Fred married Feb. 26, 1955, and raised four children from Uvalde to San Antonio, then retired in Floresville in 1978. Upon coming home to Wilson County, Reta continued her career as a wife and mother, but added numerous community activities. She worked at The Flower Basket for eight years, gracing the area with her beautiful flower arrangements. She was president of the Women’s Extension and Education Association for two years and played an integral part in initiating the County Back Program. She served as chairperson of the Sutherland Springs Museum Board and the Sutherland Springs School Reunion.
Reta not only had a passion for preserving memories and museums but also relationships and friendships. If she considered you a friend or knew you were related to her, it was for life. If you were down or sick, you got a phone call or encouraging card or both.
She loved her church family at Mount Calvary Lutheran in San Antonio and traveled 40 miles one way every Sunday she could, to worship according to her beliefs. She was also honored to serve as a greeter and met everyone with her big smile.
Reta was very pleased and a little amused by her ancestry. She was a direct descendant of U.S. President James K. Polk, Vice President John Nance Garner, Alamo defender Andrew Kent, and even a Texas outlaw, John Wesley Hardin.
But she was most proud of her heritage as a child of God. She was truly the Proverbs 31 woman and her family called her blessed. But she blessed them first as a loving mother and wife, and also with wonderful cooking and comfortable homes decorated with handmade curtains and various items. She canned fruits and vegetables and made the most wonderful peanut brittle.
She also blessed her family with her sense of humor. Even to the very end she made them laugh. Her laughter will live in their hearts forever.
Reta Mae Tatum Braune passed away Jan. 13, 2011, at the age of 77.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Fred Braune Jr.; her brother, Jack Tatum and Olwen; and her sister, Mary Lousille Tatum Neighbors and Tom.
She is survived by her children, Rebecca Braune, Esther Remling and Rick, Steve Braune and Barbara, and Ruth Baker and Scott; her grandchildren, T.J. Mollenkopf and Pam, Austin Braune and fiancée Brittany Nichols, Taylor and Garner Remling, Bethany, Kaitlyn, and Tatum Braune, and Cheyanne, Coy, Callie, and Codee Baker; her great-grandson, Trey Mollenkopf; her sister, Betty Talley and Jimmy; her brother, Joe Wesley Tatum and Jessie; and her sister-in-law, Ethel Riggs.
A visitation was held on Sunday, Jan. 16, from 4-8 p.m. in the Vinyard Funeral Home in Floresville.
A funeral service was held Monday in the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio.
Interment followed in the Sutherland Springs Cemetery in Wilson County.
Memorials may be made to the Mount Calvary Lutheran Building Fund, 308 Mount Calvary, San Antonio, TX 78209, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
The family would like to give special thanks to Nurses In Touch Hospice for the loving care given to Reta and her family.
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