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Martin Otto Braeske

Martin Otto Braeske passed away peacefully on his own terms on October 19, 2019.  He was born in Englewood, New Jersey on April 14, 1939 to German immigrants Martha and Paul Braeske, and grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey with three brothers Alfred, George and Arnold.  He attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL where he was editor of the school newspaper and graduated with a BA in Philosophy in 1962.  He married Beverly Belle Schuhart in 1963 and moved to St. Louis where they lived for the rest of his life, a majority of which was spent in a beautiful brick home in University City.

He was passionate about making St. Louis a better place and held many and varied positions throughout his career.  These included: assistant director of the Missouri Council on Criminal Justice for Region 5 (1967-1969), planner for the Southwest Illinois Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (1969-1972), program director for the Office of Community Development in the Department of Human Resources of St. Louis County (1972), chief of the community planning division of the St. Louis County Department of Planning (1976-1991), and planning supervisor for St. Louis Public schools from 1991-2007.

In retirement he taught urban planning and public policy at St. Louis University.  Martin was an active member of the University United Methodist Church in University City from 1965 to present, and enjoyed leading small groups exploring theology and how religion fits into our world today. In his private life he enjoyed meeting friends and colleagues at Cunetto House of Pasta, riding his motorcycle, collecting stamps, taking pictures, pickled herring, Braunschweiger on rye bread, a good Blutwurst, half-dill pickles, and eating as much butter as possible (“the fat’s the flavor!”).

He was preceded in death by his parents Martha and Paul Braeske, his brothers Alfred and George, his parents-in-law Henrietta and Russell Schuhart, sister-in-law Inna, and he and Beverly’s first baby in 1966.  He is survived by his wife of 56 years Beverly; his children Chris (Stacy), Steven, and Sarah (Tom); his brother Arnold, sisters-in-law Grace and Susan, two nieces Kristine and Patricia, a nephew Michael, and 7 grandchildren.  He battled a lung condition as the result of a drug interaction for over 10 years, longer than any doctor ever imagined.  In his final days he was able to visit with numerous friends and family and enjoyed every minute.  His parting thoughts to his grandchildren were to be kind, be thoughtful, stand up for people who can’t, and try to make a positive difference in this world.

A memorial service will be held at University United Methodist Church, 6901 Washington Ave., University City, MO 63130 on Saturday November 23, 2019 starting at 11:30am with refreshments and fellowship right after.  In lieu of flowers please make donations to his church, or the scholarship that is being established in his name for urban planning and public policy students at St. Louis University.


  1. Eugene Holdenried on October 25, 2019 at 9:55 am

    I worked with Martin in Community Development University City. I had a lot of respect for him and we had great conversations. Sorry to hear of his passing my condolences.

  2. David Wilmot on October 27, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I once worked under Martin’s direction at the St. Louis County Government Center. My prayers are with his family.

  3. Pat Gravelle on October 27, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    I worked with Bev at St. Luke’s. Sorry to hear of Martin’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  4. Ian and Joanne Cruickshank on October 28, 2019 at 8:24 am

    We will miss Martin; he was an intelligent and caring man. It was always a pleasure to visit with him at our filmgoers group throughout the years. We are thinking of his family now.

  5. Keith Zeff on October 28, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    So sorry to hear of Martin’s passing. He was a joy to work with professionally. I’ll remember him as a caring, intelligent and interesting person and professional.

  6. Dottie Niederkorn on November 8, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I worked with Martin at St. Louis County Government and in the Planning Division at St. Louis Public Schools. He was always a very able and a pleasant, professional colleague. He will be much missed.

  7. Barbara Hastey on November 9, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    I worked with Marty at St. Louis Public Schools. He was very proud of his family and thrilled when the grandchildren came along. You are all in my prayers and thoughts.

  8. Mary Domahidy on November 18, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Martin left us a legacy of courage, integrity and commitment to public service. It was a joy to work with him. What a life well lived!
    Mary Domahidy

  9. Pat Brown Russell on December 1, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Dear Beverly and family: Martin’s High School class of 1957 sends their deepest sympathy to you and your family. We all remember Marty as a friendly, dignified, helpful and caring classmate. We remember him well at our class reunions and always enjoyed a good conversation and a dance or two of the Lindy! He will be missed. Our prayers are with you. Pat Brown Russell and the entire class (those who are now left) of 1957.

  10. Nelson Heller on January 17, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Marty was a giant of a thinker, planner and doer who never gave up on making St. Louis a better place to live, working to improve its government, judicial and educational institutions. He seemed like he could be a street brawler because of his love of motor cycles, ironic humor and impatience with the status quo. His innate pragmatism, always rubbing up against the bigger visions he’d gotten from studying philosophy, left him perpetually caught in the middle. But he always seemed to take the high road, the hard shift, the big challenges needing someone who’d take it all seriously in the face of serious odds. I learned a lot from Marty and, in later years, when our careers had diverged, enjoyed reconnecting with him from time time time and indulging in his ready humor about whatever life was dishing up. The world needs more folks like Marty. May he rest in peace.

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