Remembering Jim Braun

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We are saddened by the sudden loss of long-time friend and volunteer Jim Braun, 79, who passed away August 24, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage from a bad fall.

Jim was a native of Portland and was dedicated to community radio. He was not on the air very often but you would recognize his rich, deep voice on early morning classical shows in the 1990’s, a monthly Brazilian show, and occasional jazz substitutions.

Jim did a huge amount of behind-the-scenes production and news work. He recorded literally thousands of hours of public affairs programming off the satellite system, engineered morning Radiozines, and was co-producer of the monthly Indian show, “Mandala,” for over ten years.

Like many music junkies, Jim had one of the largest and most eclectic record collections on Earth.  He constantly dazzled KBOO programmers with historic vinyl rarities that he had acquired.  We have learned that Jim has donated his body for medical research. A memorial service was held on September 6th.  More thoughts on Jim can be found in Barbara LaMorticella's blog

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Comments

A Man of Style and Grace

I was out of town when Jim's memorial was held, I regret not being there. It was my priviledge to take over a world beat music slot from Jim, and he was infinitely patient in correcting my Portuguese language pronunciation. His encouraging tips and reminders helped keep me going -- seriously, music show hosting is a very hard task, and he always took a moment to share something positive when I was phreeking out in the air room. Which was often.

On a different note, it should be said that Jim had an incredible personal style -- in his voice, the way he wore his hair, and especially his wardrobe. Always tidy and pressed, always in khaki pants with shirtsleeves over a 50s-style white tank top. Always his shirt cuffs were rolled up, always always. You could just picture him getting ready to wrangle audio onto a CD to make sure everyone's favorite show -- Democracy Now! -- was ready for the air.

I can hear his voice, so calm and deep, the tiniest bit rumbly. Ever gentle.

Jim Braun

Jim was much more than a fan of Brazilian music. Even his interest in broadcasting was relatively recent, in my experience of 48 years, of knowing the man. Jim was a remarkable person, conversant on many subjects, a true scholar.  His musical interests ranged from boogie- woogie, to classical, jazz in most of its evolutionary forms, as well as many forms of ethnic music, from the American South and seemingly everywhere else.

But there was more, much more.  Jim completed four years of undergraduate study at Reed College in philososphy. One of his classmates was the Beat poet, Gary Snyder. They apparently weren't close, but I was fond of reading Kerouac, and Snyder figured in as a character in Dharma Bums. Jim also graduated from Portland State, obtaining a degree in Mathematics. By then he was already self educated in the subject, but the degree gave him entry into a better category of job than he previously held, in his hardscrabble years. It no doubt added years to his life expectancy, much to my relief, when he went to work for the Multnomah County computer information system. The job gave him more regular hours, and enabled him to spend more of his free time pursuing his many interests, from literature and language to music, philosophy and politics and history.

Over the years, we would have hundreds of interesting discussions, and it was seldom a topic would emerge that was unfamiliar to Jim. We shared pet peeves about current language and slang useage, political developments and their scoundrels,  and conversations on music that might bring up Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bartok or Brubeck, it didn't matter, he knew of them all.

Jim was a very private and modest person, preferring to be a 'mouse in the corner' to a person in the spotlight. His time on air was an opportunity to teach, and to share, but it was with some difficulty that he got behind the mike, he told me many times. Yet that was a most appreciated effort, and is how many listeners came to know this remarkable man.

It is hard to imagine that I knew this friend from my days at Grant High School and PSU, and until I retired. We even worked together for several years, sharing thoughts on subjects like multiple regression analysis or Spanish syntax, as we labored in the dishroom at Mannings. His many conversations, and sharing of his books records, contributed immensely to my education, for which I will always be grateful. KBOO and its listeners were fortunate to have his presence all these years. He will be sorely missed.

jim braun

I came onto the site to see what happened to Richard Francis (after receiving a cryptic message) when I found that Jim Braun had passed as well. I was stunned and really moved. Though I didn't know Jim all that well outside of the boo, we crossed paths often in our work there. He was immeasurably supportive when I started as a music programmer. He would come into the air room during my show to get ready for his Brazilian show, and although I was happy to see him and eager to talk about music, I was often a bit anxious and distracted. His warmth, his support, and his consistently genuine good nature soothed my nerves and helped me put on a decent show month after month. Jim was a quiet and humble force at KBOO. He will definitely be missed.

~deborah

Jim Braun: RIP

Jim,

 

You were/are/is my friend. I deeply admired/admire your dedication to the world of art and music, image, aesthetics, and the human experience these deliberate.

 

While in shock after only recently learning of your transition, I trust you will pave the way for many of your KBOO Family friends and acquintances.

 

Thanks for every word, every conversation we had, admiration we shared.

 

Peace, respect, and harmony, Yugen

Jim Braun

Hi Chris,

This is a great notice about Uncle Jim and I love the picture, too. What an incredible guy he was!

I really wanted to meet you at the memorial last Sunday, but by the time I started looking around to introduce myself to you, you'd already gone. I wanted you to know that I loved the stories you shared about Uncle Jim at the memorial and I'd love to hear more.

I'm sure you know how much Uncle Jim loved his involvement with KBOO. He has loved radio since he was a kid and realized a lifelong calling there at KBOO, I think. You guys became like a family to him.

When I am in Portland next I hope to meet you. I'll phone you before then.

Thank you.

Lori

 

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