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Yale 62

Charles Edwin Brainard
August 11, 1937-July 6, 2023

Charlie Brainard passed away a month shy of his 87th birthday in his hometown of Hartford, CT, where he lived most of his life. While he prepped at Kent School, he chose to join the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division before college. There he parlayed his skills as a skier into becoming an instructor in cross-country, downhill skiing and shooting during his two-year posting in Alaska. While there, he won the first national Biathlon race. Returning to the lower 48, he enrolled in Colorado State for the Spring term of 1958 before matriculating with the class ’62 at Yale.

Entering Yale, Charlie followed both of his grandparents of the class of 1900, on his father’s side, Charles E. Brainard ’30, and on his mother’s side, Katherine Keeney, as well as three uncles who were also Yale grads. An American Studies major, he was assigned to Jonathan Edwards College where he became a non-resident member on June 11, 1960, when he married Rosalie Haxall. Even living off-campus, however, he remained involved on the soccer, hockey and crew teams.

He was, as well, a member of the Fence Club where he is remembered as “one of the great, fun-loving members of our class. It will be easy to bring back good stories” related Ellery McLanahan. “We met in freshman year with adjoining singles atop Wright Hall. He lent me his Triumph to go to Providence to visit an ill parent. That was Charlie, always thoughtful to friends, and always frugal in life… He was always up-to date on our mutual friends’ life events, and always up for a Y/H football game or crossing between Fishers Island and Watch Hill in his fishing dingy at full speed.” Art Trotman adds: “He was a fascinating social animal with a big smile and many roommates, and I remember that he wore an Army fatigue jacket on campus all the time.”

Charlie also co-captained the Yale Ski Team and led their cross-country offerings. Skiing and outdoors sports continued to be lifelong interests. His first employment was with Connecticut Printers, but he soon moved into the ski insurance industry, finally ending his business career with Connecticut General. He was a member of numerous sporting clubs in New England and New York, which provided an outlet for both his sporting and sociability needs. Charlie was well-known and liked for his outgoingness, inquisitiveness, and conversational abilities, making many friends in almost every place he met people.

He is survived by his wife Rosalie, four children and seven great grandchildren. A Celebration of Life was held at the Myopia Hunt Club in South Hampton, MA on September 15, 2023.

— John D. Hatch III