Obituary: Richard Brandenburg, 1935-2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Richard Brandenburg, 1935-2023 

Educator, administrator and leader had lifelong interest in aeronautical engineering

Published January 18, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated January 30, 2023 at 3:00 p.m.

click to enlarge Richard Brandenburg - COURTESY
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  • Richard Brandenburg

It is with deep sadness that the family of Dr. Richard George Brandenburg, 87, announces his passing on January 13, 2023, in Denver, Colo., with his family by his side. He is survived by Maxine Newman Brandenburg, his spouse of 65 years; his daughters, Suzanne (married to Keith Oleson) of Denver, Colo., and Cynthia (married to William Vespa) of Jericho, Vt.; his four grandchildren, Kurt (married to Devonie), Sarah, Maria and Joey; and his great-granddaughter, Vivienne. He is also survived by Maxine’s sister, Carol, (married to John Fox). His sagaciousness and generosity shaped the world for the better, and he will be greatly missed.

Born in Oak Park, Ill., on February 21, 1935, as the only child of George and Florence (Ream) Brandenburg, Dick graduated from Oak Park High School and earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from Cornell University. His subsequent professional work represents a lifetime’s worth of achievement in industry, government and higher education. He was an educator, administrator and a leader, with a focus on engineering, management, business administration, healthcare and biomedical ethics. His career included faculty and administrative appointments at Carnegie Mellon University, SUNY-Buffalo, the University of Denver, the University of Vermont, Dartmouth College and Arizona State University, as well as positions at Lockheed Martin, the Carborundum Company and the state government of Vermont. In addition, Dick was widely published, served innumerable boards and agencies, received many awards and accolades, and remained active in his professional fields well beyond retirement. He never stopped being a leader, and he spent his later years serving his newfound community at Balfour Riverfront Park as the inaugural president of its resident’s association.

Dick had a lifelong interest in aeronautical engineering. He was a voracious reader of aviation history, kept up with aerospace advances and enjoyed a dedicated workshop space in every home that he and Maxine lived in, where he built hundreds of intricate model airplanes.

Throughout his life, Dick modeled leadership, integrity and service. Perhaps the greatest impact of his life’s work was the way he mentored others, enabling them to be the best, most complete version of themselves. None of this would have been possible without the constant companionship of his wife, Maxine. Their mutually supportive and loving relationship allowed each of them to build highly successful professional lives while raising a family, at a time when dual career families were rare. Together, they were a role model for their children and grandchildren as to what is possible when two people commit their lives to better themselves, each other and the world. Their combination of commitment, curiosity, competence and love created a beautiful and purposeful life.

The family will honor Dick’s memory at a private memorial service at a later date. Donations can be made in his name to Wings Over the Rockies ( or the Voices and Faces Project (

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