Brenneman made valley a better place

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We were saddened to learn of the death of former County Commissioner Joe Brenneman, who exemplified the community-minded spirit of the Flathead as well as anyone.

Brenneman, who was just 60 at the time of his death last week, was a fourth-generation Creston farmer who knew that the future harvest of good will depends on planting seeds of friendship today.

He did that in a self-effacing, humorous way that made working with him a pleasure. It also led to him being the last Democrat able to win election to countywide office in the Flathead. That’s because everyone knew Joe was a straight-shooter who put his concerns for the valley first.

It is no surprise that two Republicans who served on the Board of County Commissioners with Brenneman spoke highly of him after his passing. Gary Hall said of Brenneman: “He really cared about his job … We didn’t agree on all things, but we respected each other’s opinions.” Dale Lauman praised Joe’s pragmatic approach to county government: “He was calm, cool and collected … It was fun working with him.”

Beside his term as commissioner, Brenneman earned the respect of the community for his longtime work as a volunteer firefighter with the Creston Fire Department, as well as his work on the Kalispell Planning Board, Kalispell School Board and many other associations and organizations.

Although the funeral service for Brenneman will be private, we hope that the entire community will find ways to express their gratitude for a life so well lived.

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