January 25, 1948 - October 2, 2020


Carolyn Braun, age 72 of Princeton, MN, passed away peacefully on October 2, 2020, at the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, Minneapolis. Visitation will be held from 4:00 – 8:00 PM on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, at Williams Dingmann Funeral Home in Princeton, with a private family Celebration of Life at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. Interment will be held at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Princeton immediately after the service.

Carolyn Louise Olene was born to Galen and Shirley (Fadden) Olene on January 25, 1948, in Princeton. She attended Princeton schools and graduated with honors in 1966. Carolyn married Jim Braun on September 3, 1966, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Princeton. After first settling in Mankato and Princeton, they moved to Greenbush Township in 1970 and have lived there since.

Carolyn began her post-secondary education at the age of 37 at St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud. She graduated summa cum laude in 1990 with a degree in Local and Urban Affairs/Community Studies. Carolyn was a St. Cloud State University Outstanding Student Honoree for 1990-1991, the only non-traditional student to be awarded the honor, a member of Phi Kappa Phi, and the recipient of the 1990 Award for Excellence in Leadership for making significant contributions to the university. She would return to the university to teach as an associate professor in Local and Urban Planning early in her career. Carolyn then attended the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota on a full-tuition scholarship. She graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Urban and Regional Planning in 1993.

Local and Urban Planning was Carolyn’s passion, and she spent over thirty years in community land use planning as a professional and citizen planner, primarily as the Planning Director for the City of Anoka. She was the President and Vice President of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Planning Association for 14 years and in 2015 was awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award.

A kind and gentle person with a great sense of humor, she was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. Carolyn was a seeker of knowledge and there was never a time when she was not researching something. She was a genealogist and an avid historian who loved the history of things and places. She loved taking long drives in the car with family or friends, listening to music, photographing architecture, nature, and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was an avid writer, with two books in process she hoped to publish someday. She loved spending time with her craft group, knitting, knitting, and more knitting. She was a great friend with a big heart and a listening ear. She was respected by everyone who knew her. She will be forever missed.

Carolyn is survived by her husband, Jim, Princeton; daughter, Lisa Braun (Brock) Dubbels, Walnut Creek, CA; sons, James, Jr. “Bill” and companion, Jennifer Dahler, Milaca, Keith (Michelle) Braun, Princeton, and Barry (Jennifer) Braun, Silver Bay; daughter-in-law, Kristine Braun, Milaca; 12 grandchildren, Jackson (Madeline) Braun, Raina Braun, Remy Braun, Ollie Braun, Liam Dubbels, Rowan Dubbels, Selena Henderson, Madison Braun, Hannah Braun, Alexandra Braun, Brandee (Jacob) Moe, and Chaz Tschida (Jennifer Nelson); three great-grandchildren, Lena Whitney, Carleigh Tschida, and Jamison Moe; and her beloved dog, Millie. She also served as a mother figure to many who needed one in various stages of life.

She was preceded in death by her daughters, Renee and Jodi; granddaughter, Ashley; her parents; brothers, Steve and David Olene; and brothers-in-law, Robert Braun and George Bohlken.