Byron B Brenden

02/25/1927 — 01/23/2024

From Richland, WA

Byron B Brenden

Byron Byrne Brenden was born February 25, 1927 in Bismarck, North Dakota to Vernon and Aurelia (Ruede) Brenden. Byron’s family lived and worked on several farms North Dakota occasionally living in 2-room shelters with no accommodations. Byron was on the Tappen High School basketball team, the Tappen Comets, where he was rarely called in to play.  But at the end of a losing game, he was reluctantly called in and made the winning basket.  (Dad always laughs at this point when retelling this story).  He was the trombone player for a local popular dance band called The Monarchs. (His band cut some records, which he played for his growing family.  Though the records were not a hit for his unappreciative children, we loved to watch him play the trombone.) Graduating from high school in 1944, he enlisted in the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program until the war’s end.  He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Physics in 1951 with honors in Mathematics (Pi Mu Epsilon), honors in Physics (Sigma Pi Sigma), and honors in scholastics (Phi Beta Kappa).

Byron’s family moved to Springfield, Oregon leaving Byron behind to run a 288-acre farm. He was only 18. After selling the crops and working at a gas station, he earned enough money to join his family in Springfield by the next year.  He met LaVelle Haldorson through Springfield Lutheran Church and Luther League. They were married December 26, 1949 and had three children: Sandra (1952), Susan (1955), and Michael (1962).

Byron earned awards after graduation and achieved impressive accomplishments.  They include Inventor of the Year 1973 by Association of the Advancement of Invention and Innovation Appreciation Award by the Alumni Association of the University of Oregon, and Medal from the City of Milan, Italy for lectures on Acoustical Holography.  General Electric and Battelle Northwest were his employers.  In 1969 he formed Acoustical Minerals Exploration with two partners, which became Holosonics, Inc.  In 1972 he coauthored a book called An Introduction to Acoustical Holography, which is a required reading in some university physics programs today. In 1983 Byron began a 10-year stint of teaching classes in Optics and Electrical Engineering at Washington State University Tri-City Campus. He wrote many articles for scientific magazines and loved to research.   In 1992 and 1996 he delivered Ultrasonic imaging System to Dassault Aviation in France.

Byron was preceded in death by his parents, his sister (Donna), and his grandson (Kyle).  He is survived by his wife LaVelle celebrating 74 years of marriage; his 3 children; his grandchildren, Kendra Simpson and husband Charles; Bryce Stredwick and wife Tatiana; Chad Stredwick; Stephanie Deas and her husband Tim; Jordan Fiskum; Rachel Rogers and her husband Justin; Sarah Brenden and her husband Edgar Vega; Ryan Brenden. Byron is survived by his great grandchildren Claire Simpson, Kyle Simpson, Jack Stredwick, and Corbin Stredwick.

Byron lived a full life filled with accomplishments and honors.  His passion was research and science.  This passion spilled over into his relationships with his family. Byron was a husband, father, grandpa, and Great grandpa to his family.  He was remembered by his family as someone who loved astronomy pulling us out on cold dark nights to view the planets or stars through his homemade telescope. Byron was a pillar of strength, always there to guide and support, especially during homework struggles and late-night study sessions.  With endless patience, he’d unravel the complexities of algebra, physics and nurtured in us a love for learning. Research was his enjoyment, proving and disproving theories was his hobby.  He was in the process of writing an essay about the creation of stars.  He was writing in longhand since he couldn’t use the keyboard anymore.  This essay is filled with mathematical equations proving his theories. This paper still sits on their kitchen table ready to be continued.

Byron loved to travel vicariously through his family.  When any of his children or grandchildren went on a trip abroad, he would send research about the places being visited or family connections if ancestors once lived there.  After his daughters’ visit to CERN in Geneva in September 2023, he analyzed the pictures taken of the statue out front.  It was a spiral filled with scientists’, physicists’ and mathematicians’ names and their formulas of discovery. He went into a long, involved explanation about how one scientist built his discovery on the other with antidotes and how the formulas proved certain theories in science.  He went through this explanation while at Richland Rehab 3 months before his death. Byron was mentally sharp until the end.

Byron was a creative person. He managed our 5-acre ranch so his daughters could enjoy riding their horses. He built several barns on the property and helped his daughters build their homesteads. Though he would play his trombone, his family remembers him for making up songs about us on his ukulele.  He would recite long involved poetry to us up to the very end of his life. Byron wrote books filled with pictures about our ancestors and made sure each of his children had copies.  He also enjoyed sending us annual St. Brenden Day cards on May 16 celebrating a questionable historical figure who supposedly landed in the Americans 300 years before Leif Erickson. It was his joke.

Byron was a humble man making a point to remember everyone’s name around him at the hospitals or rehab centers.  He was curious about the imaging machines being used on him and asked the technicians many scientific questions.  The curious technicians were told they were imaging a pioneer in holography.

Byron loved each one of us and told us often.  He loved his homemade cinnamon rolls, his chocolate protein drinks, and the sneaked-in Cheetos. He loved the visits from his family, letters and cards from grandchildren, cousins, and friends.  All were kept and categorized in his filing cabinet.  He’d hum small tunes if Mom was upset even on the last day they saw each other.  The tune was always accompanied with a little smile.  He saw humor and happiness throughout his day and always stayed positive to the very end. His words were jumbled at the end of his life.  Even though we told him we couldn’t understand, he’d just give a little smile and continue. His last words that we could understand were “Let’s load everyone up and go home.”

In his absence, the warmth of his guidance and the echoes of our conversations remain etched in the hearts of his family.  We will dearly miss him, but his legacy lives on in the cherished memories he leaves behind.

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Byron B Brenden

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  • I had the incredible honor of taking Byron’s Optics course at WSU Tri-Cities, and after graduating with my BSEE, we worked in the same department at PNNL for several years. What an incredible man and friend.

    Barbara Hickman
    February 21, 2024
  • I was so sorry to hear of Mr. Brenden’s passing, he was such a kind, gentle man. I knew him as the father of my junior and senior high school buddy, Sandy. So many good memories come to mind, like how patient he was when we girls spent the night, giggling into the wee hours of the morning, or how he kept a watchful eye on us out at the barn while we rode Sandy’s horse, Sugar. I know I, and many others, will treasure your father’s memory. Please know my prayers are with you and yours during this difficult time.

    February 11, 2024
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