Super Senior: Curt Brainard

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 5:49 PM EST
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DERBY, Vt. (WCAX) - Ninety-four-year-old Curt Brainard knows just about every inch of Derby.

“It all used to be farmland. Everywhere farmland. Ain’t anymore,” he said

The former dairy farmer has lived here all of his life. On this day, he is giving us a trip down memory lane.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You’ve been up and down this road all your life.

Curt Brainard: All my life, yup I have.

From farmer to road commissioner -- a job he held for 17 years. Brainard was the driving force in getting the town garage built.

The next stop on our tour is the cemetery. Now, what keeps him active is life’s final journey -- he’s been the cemetery commissioner since 1980.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Is this where you’re going to be?

Curt Brainard: This is where I’m going to be. I got a place, oh, halfway out there... I looking at it from up here.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You’re not ready, huh?

Curt Brainard: I’m not ready.

He recalls his father-in-law giving him some stone-cold advice when he took the cemetery job. “He said the only way you’re going to get rid of this job is when they put you in here,” Brainard said.

Brainard is quick with the joke. What isn’t a laughing matter is losing his wife, Betty, six years ago. “It’s kind of hard. I couldn’t believe it. It weren’t supposed to be,” he said. Brainard thought he’d go first. After all, he’s the one who had open heart surgery decades ago.

“She was quiet and reserved, just the opposite of me,” he said. “It’s hard for me to look at that picture then go to the cemetery.”

Brainard’s decades of service to Derby haven’t gone unnoticed. This year’s town report is dedicated to him, with a photo on the inside cover page. “I didn’t expect anything like that. They usually wait until you’re dead, right, before they do that,” he said.

Last Monday evening, Brainard was back on the road to the annual town meeting. But before all the business begins, Brainard gets a shout-out from moderator Frank Davis.

“This year, it’s to Curt Brainard. Curt, would you please stand. I think everyone should give you a well-deserved round of applause Curt. Thank you,” Davis said.

“Curt, you got it coming to you,” added Rep. Brian Smith, R-Derby.

“I’ve never done anything that I should be honored for,” Brainard said.

But Derby residents would say otherwise.