Tribute to a Friend By Mike Koomas
|On Friday November 31, to my sadness Kent Brandt passed away.
Kent was born on October 3, 1945, and grew up in the Noe Valley
district of San Francisco. He was from a large family of five
children, attended numerous high schools but graduated from Poly,
and attained a degree from S.F. State University. From there he
served in the Marine Reserve and subsequently joined the Police
Department, where he stayed for two years. In the late seventies,
Kent joined the SF Fire Department. He spent most of his career
at Station 19 as the driver of the truck. His last year was at
Station 42, and he had planned to go to the Treasure Island Station
in January. As well as being a firefighter, Kenny was also a very
successful Real Estate agent, helping many firefighters find their
To say Kent Brandt was one of a kind would be an
|understatement. When I first met Kenny at Station 19, he would
come to work in the morning with a very stern expression on his
face, what some would call a scowl. I remember saying Good morning,
and he would say nothing, maybe nod, or just walk by. I came to
understand that this was Kennys unique, funny style. In our profession
we work with a lot of people, you may work with someone for six
months and not see them again for years. But Id say, most people
who worked with Kenny never forgot him. Whether it was his gourmet
meals (with his gourmet prices!) or his views of life from his
funny perspective, Kenny left a lasting impression of humor. Over
the years he went by many funny nicknames, such as Kenny the
B, The Grinch, Kenny Bang-bang, Mister Happy; and many
that I cant repeat. All funny, and very descriptive of Kennys
unique personality. Almost everybody who spent time working with
Kenny could remember a Kent Brandt story.
My most cherished memories of Kenny were vacations that we took together with our children. For years Kenny and I, along with firefighter Jerry Heffernan, would all take our children up to Tahoe for vacations. It was a tradition of just the kids and the dads (all being divorced, this was an easy tradition to uphold!). I recall Kenny telling the kids that the only rule on these vacations was there were no rules, and at a time in their lives when structure was a daily requirement, this was a much needed break. These trips left us with countless stories, with Kenny usually at the focal point. Whether it was the time Kenny fell off his horse when we went horseback riding or him running into a tree while inner tubing down a hill in the snow, he always had a great sense of humor and didnt mind laughing at himself. Kennys enthusiasm and effort to make these trips memorable and fun for everyone will always be remembered.
As far as success and having a full life, in my perspective, Kenny did very well and in many ways he was very fortunate. He spoke fondly of his childhood memories with his parents and siblings and is survived by brother Pete, a retired firefighter from Station 6, and sister Deedee. Kennys happy childhood left him with a strong desire to create the same happy memories for his own children. He was a devoted father to his four children, Jason, Mariah, Alexa and Kirk. His influence and strong bond with each of his children has helped them all to lead successful lives. Kenny had two main relationships in his life. The first was with his ex-wife Maureen, the other was with Jackie, a soul mate and perfect match for Kenny. He and Jackie traveled for years together and had just recently returned from a trip to Africa. Kenny enjoyed seeing other cultures, meeting new people, and was always excited about planning their next trip. Devoting his time to Jackie and his kids was undeniably Kennys passion in life, and kept him constantly active. To put it like one of the speakers at Kennys funeral, Kenny managed to get 85 years of life into 55.