Steven C. Brandt Obituary

Steven C. Brandt
Oct. 24, 1936-May 26, 2019
Palo Alto, California
Submitted by Peter C. Brandt
Contact the submitter

Steven C. Brandt, PhD., of Palo Alto, California, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, May 26 from a stroke. He was 82. At his side were his loving companion Laverne Welch, his son Peter Brandt, and his grandson Miles Brandt.

Steve lived a full, exciting life, and leaves a legacy of leadership, wisdom, wit, and good humor. He was a husband, father, uncle, and grandfather; an author and poet; a professor and business management consultant; a CEO; a sailor and lover of the sea; a hiker and nature lover; and a world traveler. His beloved wife of 58 years, Judy, passed away in 2016.

Born in Indianapolis the son of Leonard Brandt and Virginia Cox, he attended Purdue University where he studied engineering and excelled in leadership in prominent student activities. Fate stepped in during Purdue’s homecoming week when, as president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, Steve was randomly assigned to escort Judith Woolverton, a nominee for homecoming queen, to the stage as the nominees were announced to the stadium crowd. To their delight, Judith was crowned queen. They fell in love, and were married two years later. In their early 20s, after Steve attended Harvard and served in the Coast Guard, Judy and Steve drove west to California in a leaky ’57 Chevy convertible.

On the west coast, they lived five lives together. The first of these western lives was in Palo Alto, California where Steve co-founded a small company, Loen-Brandt, Inc., which focused in business training systems. He and Judy had and raised two boys, Eric and Peter.

In the second, the family of four moved to live beside Lake Tahoe to experience mountain living in the surroundings of the high Sierra. At Tahoe, Steve was involved with the League to Save Lake Tahoe. He and Judy inaugurated their first sailboat on the lake.

In the third, Steve was invited to teach one course at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He did, and then continued on the faculty, teaching in the MBA and Executive programs for twenty-one years. During those years, he wrote three top-selling books on management and entrepreneuring (Entrepreneuring: The Ten Commandments for Building a Growth Company, Strategic Planning in Emerging Companies, and Entrepreneuring in Established Companies). Passionate about teaching, he became a Senior Lecturer in Management, Emeritus. He was also the CEO and co-founder of a number of successful ventures, in addition to being a management consultant or serving on the board of directors for many major international companies.

But, he and Judy missed being surrounded by nature. In life number four, as empty nesters, Judy and Steve resolved to seriously “repot” themselves. They did, and moved to tiny San Juan Island in Washington State where they built a home dubbed “Circle B Farm,” raised sheep, became ingrained in local matters, and explored parts of the Inside Passage to Alaska aboard their wooden boat, “Spirit.”

In life number five, after nearly 20 years of island living, the pair returned to Palo Alto. Shortly thereafter, Judy was diagnosed with Lewey Body Dementia, which played out for seven years before she passed on Christmas Eve in 2016.

Steve is survived by his sons, Eric and Peter; his brother, Phil; his nieces Jennifer Brandt Van Fossen and Dianne Brandt Chase; and his grandchildren, Miles, Cole, and Ella.

Steve wrote nine books, over a hundred articles, a newspaper column and, recently, a novel (A Woman’s Prerogative) and a book of poetry (The Golden Window). Before he passed, he was working diligently on his next book, a compilation of poetry and essays on aging and simplicity. The following poem was completed just days before he passed.


Do you feel you’ve lost your edge after working sixty years to get ahead? The rules of conduct have changed… nothing is the same

Having trouble making a decision, impatient for a clue to continue your mission? For years you excelled in teamwork… now alone and a bit berserk

Day-by-day are you searching in the dark knowing action is needed but absent a spark? Your dreams are laced with fear… rare for you many a year

Are you afraid to bypass an ugly bend or stymied at a fork in your path ahead? Fearful of making a wrong choice… powerless, without a voice

Do you cross rooms and forget why, by arrival then retrace your steps worrying about survival? You’re wandering in the jaws of aging… from which there is no escaping

Quit spiraling, you know this place has plenty of room you entered the jaws…as you left the womb.

[Copyright 2019 Steven C. Brandt]