Kent Brun supported historic Graeser Park for years by clearing brush, pulling weeds and raising public awareness.
He was the Cleanup Day Organizer.
Graeser Park has been under the proud volunteer stewardship of the Robbinsdale Lions Club since 2008. As a Lion, Kent organized Graeser Park cleanup events from 2010-2018.
His keen focus on saving this historic park lit a spark among many others, including MnDOT. He inspired others to care about Graeser’s local, statewide, and national historical significance.
Sadly, Kent passed away on July 8, 2023 at age 71 from stage IV stomach cancer.
We were all glad to hear he toured the park’s completed restoration this summer with his wife Janice. She said he loved the access from the street and the table for people with special needs. He was really glad to see the buckthorn gone and loved that the perennials were planted. They sat on the picnic table overlooking the pond area, he told her he was impressed!
Our condolences to his family. Rest in peace, Kent – Karen Laukkonen, Restore Lilac Way
If you can see a stone path in Graeser Park today, it’s because a Robbinsdale Lion uncovered it.
Kent and the Lions devoted hundreds of volunteer hours to remove invasive buckthorn, mow, weed stonework and clean up debris in the ponds. Lion Jeannine McDonald referred to it as the Graeser Park Workout, uncovering Lilac Way structures under years of neglect.
MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Roadside Properties Program started their restoration project in 2021-2023. They were able to continue efforts to preserve this historic Lilac Way park because it was visible again after being covered with soil over the decades.
Kent was Restore Lilac Way’s first connection to the Lions Club and Graeser Park.
In 2018, I emailed the Robbinsdale Lions to learn about their Graeser Park efforts, and to tell them about the relaunch of restorelilacway.com. When Kent came to my design studio, I sat him down in front of two large monitors. I explained my mission to document seven Lilac Way parks and promote efforts to save remaining parks.
When I showed him the new Graeser Park page, he teared up. Looking at the 1940 high-quality photos purchased from the MN Historical Society for the project, he saw rock garden details that he never knew were there.
In the following years, he was always supportive and encouraging of my Restore Lilac Way project.
Kent volunteered for multiple organizations.
- Joined the Robbinsdale Lions, a national group that gives their valuable time and efforts to improve their communities, and the world.
- Delivered meals to older adults and people with disabilities for “Dinner at Your Door” for two years
- Delivered lunches to students at Lakeview Elementary for “Kid Pack” program
- Initiated a partnership with NEAR Food Shelf and Crescent Cove Respite & Hospice Home for Kids, then delivered food to Crescent Cove once a week
- Served on the board for “Empty Bowls” (one year)
- Participated in the Men’s Ministry at Elim Lutheran Church
- Visited patients nearing end of life at North Memorial Hospice (3 years)
- Served on the board for NEAR Food Shelf
In late June, I dropped a three-page letter in his mailbox. I am glad I told him how much I appreciated his friendship, support and encouragement of this project and everything he has done for the community.
It included a photo of the Graeser Park sign, so he could see the Robbinsdale Lions were credited for their hard work.