Brandee S. Mitchell

Brandee Mitchell was born to Sue and Kent Mitchell on December 10, 1981 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. She passed away February 15, 2015, surrounded by loving parents, family, friends, and the 3 schnauzers- Hunter, Devon, and Willie Nelson.

Brandee was born into love, getting both of our smiles, her mother’s big, caring, sharing heart, and her father’s dark, sarcastic  sense of humor. The best of both worlds.

Brandee attended schools in Oakdale, Minnesota school system. She graduated from Tartan High School in 2000. While in high school, she was involved in band, jazz band, and loved working on the stage helping plays. She also participated in a student exchange program with Costa Rica students and got to spend time there.

After high school, she attended the University of Minnesota for a year, and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin- Superior, where she wanted to pursue a career in Marine Biology. As part of the program, the students would go down to Belize every winter, where they would do coral reef studies. Brandee loved to scuba dive, and loved to be in the water swimming with the fish. After 3 years in the Marine Biology program, she changed gears and decide she wanted to be a science teacher. While going through the program Brandee student taught at several schools. Brandee received a degree from Superior in Physical Science in 2006.

After graduating from college, she ran a program for girls at the YWCA in Duluth, Minnesota for several summers. She had the summers all planned out well in advance, and would take them everywhere along the north Shore of Minnesota. Obviously by this point, she knew she had the gift of teaching.

In the summer of 2008 she received an offer to teach in Henderson, Nevada at Mannion Middle School. Brandee taught 8th grade science there until this past summer, when her illness brought her back home to us, to live and heal, in Hudson, Wisconsin.

She developed breast cancer in 2010, and after treatment was declared cancer free in 2011. In 2013 the disease showed up again in her hips, back, spine and other spots. Staying strong and vowing to beat it again, and she did. This past summer the cancer showed up in her brain, and after may long battles, she finally succumbed to it. Not until she put up such a valiant, strong, inspiring fight.

Brandee had many caring feelings in her life. She loved to laugh, smile and have fun with friends. She enjoyed moments with her family. Everyone who came in contact with her fell in love with her. She adored her students and they returned the favor. Children (and adults) of all ages were attracted to her caring and loving personality.

She so loved frogs, her school room was covered in pictures and stuffed animals of frogs. They were everywhere.

She loved to travel. Probably her favorite place in the world was along the north shore in Minnesota. We, as a family, spent many moments together up there, hiking, enjoying the scenery. She always had to explore, had to climb to top of every hill possible.

Two of her most special places to go visit were Disneyland in California and to the Bayfield Apple Festival in Bayfield, Wisconsin.

She loved music. The band Over the Rhine was the favorite of all 3 of us, and we went to many concerts together, often traveling far to see them, making many new friends along the way.

Brandee so loved teaching. The hardest thing for her was not being able to teach. She loved every student and cared for each one , as if they were own. They loved her right back. It was amazing to see, when out in Vegas last year at high school sporting events, how many of her former students would reach out to her. She came in to work every day, even while in pain, showed up with a smile, and never complained. That was Brandee in a nutshell. The first words out of mouth were always ‘ How are you?’ always caring about someone else first. To all her students, know she loved you. To the staff at Mannion Middle School, she loved you all so much.

She loved her dog, Willie Nelson. Last spring she rescued him from a kill shelter in Las Vegas. Brandee called him her son, and they said they rescued each other. We see a lot of Brandee in Willie.

One of Brandee’s favorite things to do was shop. She loved to scrapbook, loved going into craft stores looking for stickers or anything she could use in her classroom.

Lastly was her love for the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins. She was fiercely loyal to both.

We would like to thank all at Lakeview Hospice, Minnesota Oncology, Neurological Associates of St. Paul, Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, St. Croix County paramedics, and the staff and nurses at Hudson Hospital and O’Connell Funeral Home. We never gave up.

Special thank you’s to family, friends and co-workers. Your support has been incredible for us.

To my sister Vicki, thank you for being her with us to lean on the past few days. Brandee so looked forward to getting a card from you regularly, it always uplifted her.

And to Kishta Millinger. You are an amazing woman, and have a wonderful family. You were her first chemo nurse in Las Vegas and you treated her as a daughter. Your family opened your house and hearts to us this past summer. We don’t know what we would’ve done without you. You were here with us at the end, and helped us through the very difficult journey.

Brandee will remain in our hearts forever. She will always be a part of us.

We love you all. Go home tonight and hug your children and family, and tell them you love them.

Brandee would like that.

A Gathering of Friends and Family will be held from 1-3 p.m. on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 520 S. 11th St., Hudson, followed by a Memorial Service at 3 p.m. 


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