Folkvard Martin Braaten, known as Tack to his friends, was born on September 5, 1927, in Madagascar to Lutheran missionaries Clara and Torstein Braaten. After graduating from the American School in Fort Dauphin, he worked his way to America on a freighter at the age of 18 and joined the US Army. He then attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, on the GI Bill. There, Tack met the love of his life, Betty Joan Smith. He graduated in 1951 with majors in History, French, and Spanish. Tack and Betty were married on June 9, 1951, in Brooklyn, NY. A few months later, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps. He was trained to be a fighter pilot, but he resigned his commission after the Korean War ended.
In 1955, Tack and Betty moved with their two sons, Mark and Eric, to Menomonie, WI, where he pursued a master’s degree in Industrial Arts at the Stout Institute. They then accepted a call from the American Lutheran Church to serve Christ on the mission field in Cameroon, where their third son, Larry, was born. After serving there for nine years, they returned to the US in 1967 where Tack attended Rutgers University for a master’s degree in Romance Languages. Tack and Betty then moved to Rice Lake, WI, where Tack taught at a branch campus of Stout State University for three years. Once again they accepted a call to the mission field, moving to Madagascar with their youngest son and serving for three years.
In 1974, Tack and Betty moved to Thousand Oaks, CA, where he served as Principal of Ascension Lutheran School for 18 years, earning the respect of his friends and colleagues. In 1976, Tack bought the fiberglass hull of a 32-foot Westsail sailboat. He labored for 17 years on his sailboat and was affectionately called “Noah” Braaten. As with all of Tack’s endeavors, he threw his heart and soul into the craft. He christened his beautiful sailboat the “Betty Joan.” It was truly a work of art, with a teak deck and an interior of ash and mahogany. He enjoyed sailing with friends and family out among the Channel Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
In 1992, Tack and Betty retired to Tehachapi, CA. They made one last move to Manhattan, KS, in 2014 to be near their oldest son Mark and family. Tack lived his final years with Betty at the Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community.
F. Martin Braaten passed away peacefully on September 26, 2022, at the age of 95. He is survived by his wife Betty of 71 years, his son Mark and wife Debbie, his son Eric and wife Mim, and his son Larry and wife Nancy. He was preceded in death by his sisters Agnes and Arlene and is survived by his younger brother Carl. Tack has six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
His beloved boat, the Betty Joan, is currently sailing around the world.