Date of death: 6/4/2012

Saint Meinrad Class: O 1953

Joe Braun remembers the feeling of panic on May 28, 1977.His parents, Dr. Joseph and Madonna Braun were attending a medical association dinner at the Beverly Hills Supper Club on an evening that would end with 165 people dead.What the teenage Braun didn’t know at the time was that his father, by then a seasoned family physician, was part of an heroic rescue effort at the Southgate club that night.Dr. and Mrs. Braun returned home at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. the next morning. They were fortunate to be some of the first patrons alerted to the fire and to escape before poisonous smoke overtook those trapped inside, their son said.Braun learned how his father and the group of other doctors helped pull people out of the fire, tend to injuries and breath life back into some of the victims.They were able to resuscitate people initially. But as it got worse and the people that came out later were in such bad shape, they couldn’t revive any of them,” said Braun, of Cold Spring.”I just remember him talking about the taste from trying to revive the people. He had the taste of that smoke in his lungs and he said that was something that he would never forget.”Dr. Braun, who had a family practice in Newport and then in Cold Spring, died Monday at his Cold Spring home after a battle with squamous cell cancer. He was 82.A native of Fort Thomas, Dr. Baun attended St. Theresa Elementary School and then went on to Covington Latin School and Villa Madonna College (now Thomas More College). Following college graduation in 1949, he joined the seminary and studied at the Benedictine Archabbey of St. Meinrad in Indiana.Dr. Braun lasted two years in the seminary, despite several attempts by Bishop William Mulloy to make him a priest.He’d tell Bishop Mulloy that he didn’t think the religious life was for him after all. Mulloy would convince Dr. Braun to give it another try, his son said.”He actually ended up sending him to Washington, D.C. and he studied under Bishop (Fulton) Sheen at Catholic University of America. But my dad came back again and said G╟ I just don’t think this is right for me,'” Braun said.Bishop Mulloy finally gave in.In 1953, Dr. Braun enrolled in the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He graduated and met his wife at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington. The couple had celebrated their 58th wedding university on May 31, just days before Dr. Braun’s death.Dr. Braun retired from family practice in 1993 after 40 years of making house calls and healing patients in his medical office. He started his practice in Newport, but moved it to Cold Spring around 1965 when he and his wife bought a house there.A longtime staff physician and board member at St. Luke Hospital in Fort Thomas, he also provided medical care to veterans at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Fort Thomas and to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd convent, across from his boyhood home in Fort Thomas.Dr. Braun served as the company physician for the George Weidemann Brewery in Newport for many years, his son said.”He took care of people his whole life,” Braun said. “He never worried about appearances. It was all about the real stuff, getting your hands dirty, being a doctor because you want to help people not because you like the status or the social position. He was just a real very down to earth, really committed highly ethical person.”To retired pharmacist, Clarence Martin, Dr. Braun was a humble man and valued friend.The two men met at St. Luke Hospital, when Dr. Braun was just starting out as a physician and Martin was working in the emergency room to pay for pharmacy school at the University of Cincinnati.The two men bowled together on a team at La Ru Lanes in Highland Heights, coached knothole baseball and camped together with their families during the summer.”We both had young families and not a lot of money and we took camping trips with big old station wagons,” Martin said.Dr. Braun was the kind of doctor who knew his patients by their first names and was always willing to listen, Martin said.Following retirement, Dr. and Mrs. Braun traveled extensively in their motor home to such places as Mexico and Alaska. They settled in a winter home on Nettles Beach near Jensen Beach, Fla., returning to Cold Spring each year in early June.In Florida, Dr. Braun spent his time fishing and kayaking on the Indian River, which was virtually in his back yard. A conservationist, he was know to fire off letters to the editor at the local newspaper there complaining about how fertitilzer dumping in the everglades was polluting the river and ruining the habitat, Braun said.Besides his wife and son, other survivors include daughter, Donna Joanne McKee of Lederach, Pa.; son, Mark Steven Braun of Lakeside Park; and three grandchildren.There will be no visitation. A memorial Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. today at St. Therese Church, 11 Temple Place, Southgate.Memorials may be made to Covington Latin School, 21 E. 11th St., Covington, Ky 41011; Salk Institute For Biological Studies, P.O. Box 85800, San Diego, Calif. 92186-5800; or American Rivers, 1101 14th St. NW, Suite1400, Washington, D.C. 20005.From “