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Nancy Ludwena Braun, 86

Montpelior, VT – Nancy Ludwena (nee Lang, nee Briscoe) Braun, age 86, known as “Grandma Llama” to many, passed away peacefully of natural causes Wednesday May 15, 2024 attended by her beloved daughter Betsy and the compassionate caregivers at Heaton Woods.

Nancy was born March 1, 1938 in Niagara Falls, NY to Beryl & Francis Lang, both teachers. She was a girl scout and an avid hiker and swimmer. She participated in synchronized swimming at Niagara Falls High School, graduating in 1956 with honors and won a scholarship to study nursing at Le Moyne College. Nancy cherished childhood memories of summers spent with her sisters Barb & Fran and neighborhood friends—including her lifelong friend Anna (Trish) Johnson—at the family cottage on Lake Kamaniskeg in Ontario, Canada.

Nancy met her future husband, Robert J Briscoe, in 1958 shortly after he was drafted and stationed at Fort Niagara. They soon married and moved back to the Chicago area, eventually settling in Woodstock, Illinois where they raised a family of six children together before separating in 1974.

Nancy had many professions and interests throughout her life—as a rural route carrier for the postal service, leading a cooperative preschool, volunteering with local political campaigns and the League of Women Voters—but most notable was her 14-year career as Executive Director of the McHenry County Housing Authority. She was passionate about her work, her staff, doing outreach and writing grants to provide resources for those underserved in the community. She spoke at many Housing & Urban Development (HUD) conferences across the country and developed a love for travel.

She met and married John Braun in 1984 and together they established Palisades Animal Farm in Clinton, WI. There they raised an assortment of exotic animals, including: llamas, pot-bellied pigs, peacocks, emus, goats, donkeys, rabbits and many more. They loved hosting school and scout groups for tours of the farm, especially the grandkids who affectionately nicknamed them Grandma & Grandpa Llama. After John passed, Nancy spent her time spinning and weaving and often demonstrated her craft at Old World Wisconsin. She sold the farm in 2002 and devoted the rest of her life to traveling the continent in her RV camper with her faithful canine companion, Lucy.

Nancy made friends wherever she went and visited most of the western national parks, often serving as campground host. She was always up for an adventure and enjoyed being “on the road”: venturing as far south as Baja, Mexico and north to Alaska. As her

health started to deteriorate, she divided her time between her children and their families, finally settling down in Montpelier.

Nancy was preceded in death by her father and mother and both of her husbands.
She is survived by her sisters: Barbara (Jim) Gutman of Santa Barbara, CA and
Francis (Peter) Marbarger of Anchorage, AK and their families. She also leaves behind two daughters: Patricia (Randolph) Carey of Madison, WI and Elizabeth (Lowell) Vanderlip of Montpelier, VT; and four sons: Robert Briscoe Jr of Tenafly, NJ; John (Cindy) Briscoe of Libertyville, IL; Timothy (Amy) Briscoe of Mequon, WI and Joseph (Terri) Briscoe of Southington, CT. Also three step-sons: Michael (Robin) Braun of Arlington Heights, IL; Thomas Braun of Pasadena, CA, and Jack Braun of Washington DC. Plus twenty-two grandchildren: Sarah, Luke, Kyle, Carly, Ella, Robbie, Matt, Martha, Isabel, Jacob, Jen, Leo, Tessa, Calvin, Ian, George, Jack, Francis, Elizabeth, Katie, Stephen and Laura. And four great-grandchildren: Lucy, Thatcher & Mary Martin and Lucille Kiel.

Nancy’s declining health was attended to by many over the years, including the kind and gentle caregivers at Heaton Woods who will miss her greatly. The family wishes to thank each and every one whose life was touched by Nancy’s love of life, her adventurous spirit, quirky sense of humor, and lively stories.

Memorials can be made to “Grandma Llama” at Heaton Woods Residence; 10 Heaton Street; Montpelior, VT 05602 or online at

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