Joanne K. Bracker
May 3, 1945 - February 1, 2023

Joanne K. Bracker

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Joanne K. Bracker, age 77, of Fremont
Died, Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at home with her family after a battle with cancer.

Joanne Kay Bracker was born on May 3rd, 1945 to Jess and Lorene 'Ambrose' Gochenour in Mondamin, Iowa. She grew up in Mondamin and graduated from West Harrison High School in 1963. She attended Dana College in Blair, Nebraska and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 1966 and a Masters' degree from University of Northern Colorado in 1970. She became the head women's basketball coach at Midland Lutheran College in 1970 and spent 42 years as the head coach and professor of physical education, guiding the school to eight NAIA National Championship tournament appearances and a 4th place national finish in 1985. Under Coach Bracker, the Warriors ended with a national ranking in 13 seasons, with a #3 ranking in 1983 and #4 in 1985. She was inducted into the inaugural class of the National Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. She is also a member of the Midland University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Dana College Athletic Hall of Fame. She served as an assistant coach for the North Team in the 1989 Olympic Festival and was a member of the Olympic selection committee in 1992 and 1996. She was a past national president of NAIA Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She was the first female named Small College Coach of the year. In 2021, she was awarded the First Lady of Iowa award by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.

Coach Bracker compiled an overall record of 742 wins vs 403 losses at Midland in her illustrious career. At the time of her retirement, she was the winningest coach in NAIA history. In Coach Bracker was a lifelong supporter of women's athletics and women's basketball in particular.

Off the court, Joanne enjoyed spending time with friends and family as well and cooking and entertaining. She continued to be an avid basketball fan, closely following local teams including Midland, UNL and Creighton. Her home was always open for friends and former players to visit. She enjoyed following the activities of her three grandchildren.

Joanne was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband Leon Bracker of Fremont, son Troy (Stacey) Bracker of Fremont, 3 grandchildren, Cale Bracker of Omaha, Tristan and Shelby Bracker of Fremont. One sister, Carolyn (Doyle) Cooper of Omaha and a multitude of other relatives and friends.

A public Celebration of Joanne's life to be held on Saturday, March 11, 2023 at the Midland University Wikert Event Center Foyer from 2pm to 5pm. In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to Midland University Women's Basketball, Church of Christ in Mondamin, IA. (207 S. Noyes St. 51557), St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and the Iowa Girl's High School Athletic Union.

Ludvigsen Mortuary in Fremont is in charge of arrangements.

Online guestbook at

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Celebration of Life Open House
Saturday, March 11, 2023
2:00pm to 5:00pm
Midland University Wikert Event Center
900 North Clarkson
Fremont, NE  68025
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  1. Tamela L Myers
    My sympathies to Joanne's family. She was a special lady. Touched the life of so many. Took many of my basketball players to her camps. She was a great mentor to me as a young coach. One of my fondest memories of her was when we both were asked to cut the cake for Mary Jo (Riley) Giesselmann's wedding. We made a mess of that cake table. We laughed so hard. We were sure that Mary Jo was getting even with us for making her run. She always made everyone feel like they belonged and were special. She will be missed by many. God bless you all.
  2. Debbie & Steve Riley
    Steve and I were so sorry to hear about Joanne!!! She was such a kind caring loving person; a great listener. (We can say the same about you Leon!!!). She was so loved by so many. Of course her basketball team was her 2nd family. I wasn’t a player but my sister in law, Mary Jo Giesselmann n (Riley) was. I’ve never seen a coach treat her players like family the way she did!!! How lucky all those girls were!!! Even though I wasn’t a player she could make me feel like I was a special part of the “Basketball Family”. She was such a legend at Midland and yet when you talked to her, she was such a regular person. She always made a person feel like they were the special one, but it was her, always her. There are no words of how special a person she was. God’s blessings to you all!!!
  3. Nancy Ann Harms
    Please accept our deepest sympathy in your loss. Joanne was truly one of a kind. She was very passionate about her love of basketball as she helped so many grow and mature as she consistently practiced her values which served as an example to others. While I served as chair of the nursing program. Joanne would work with us to help the nursing majors succeed. I can recall helping Joanne recruit a student from out of state on a Sunday morning while enjoying brunch. With all of her accomplishments and awards, she was still grounded. Our sincere sympathy to Leon, Troy and your family.
    Nancy Harms & Gerhart Wehrbein
  4. Willie Weisbrook
    So sorry to learn of Joanne’s passing. I officiated a number of her games at Midland College. She was not only an outstanding coach but a special lady.
  5. cindy hinkel
    so sorry for your loss, what a humble , kind , graceful lady. whether I was working as a cook at Midland, or in the admissions office at Midland, or as a sales associate at Hallmark, she always treated me with kindness and friendship. she would always take the time to visit and make you feel like a friend. I always admired her for that!! with all of her achievements and accolades she always was so easy to visit with. I am sure you will miss her so much. what an honor for those that were taught and coached by her. what a legacy she has left for all.. God Bless.
  6. Trent Meyer
    I had the privilege of taking only one class with Coach Bracker, dance!!! As a track athlete sharing the same gym, I had many other opportunities to observe and interact with Coach Bracker. She had class, integrity, and high expectations which were all nurtured with genuine concern and care.
  7. Craig Schneider
    May the comforts of Gods peace, promises and presence be with Leon, Troy and the entire Bracker family at this time of loss.
    Coach Bracker was a remarkable lady. As a educator and coach she was second to none! Her accomplishment are clear and measurable. As both a student and work colleague, I like so many was blessed for having known Coach Bracker. For this I am grateful!
    This may seem a bit unusual but one of the things I will most remember about Coach will be her summer basketball ball camps! Camps before camps were even a thing! I can almost hear it now! Sitting in my office hearing the sound of 100’s of basketballs bouncing off the gym floor. A Buffalo heard off in the distance! Walking towards the gym to check on football players in the weight room the volume of these bouncing balls grew! Opening the doors and walking through the gym the full auditory force of these bouncing ball was heard and felt as if a it were a herd of stampeding Buffalo!
    I say this in acknowledgement of the truly immeasurable impact those camps and Coach Bracker had upon 1000’s and 1000’s of girls through the sports she loved! Immeasurable and remarkable!

  8. Lori DeBoer-Gaydusek
    A strong kind woman. She influenced so many young women. Peace be with you Troy. Prayers.
    Lori DeBoer-Gaydusek
  9. Don and Elke Dickmeyer
    Leon and Troy, We are so sorry to see that Joanne has passed. She was a fine lady and a great Coach.
  10. Brianne "Bree" Newman (previously Schramm)
    My deepest and dearest condolences to the whole family!

    I am so saddened by this news. The Bracker's were truly like my second parents. I cherished and appreciated them very much. As I write this, so many thoughts have rushed to my memory about how Coach helped me through my 2 years playing for Midland. She will be missed by many!

    Much love and many hugs to you Leon!
  11. Sheri Crabb
    Mr. Bracker, Troy, and Family,
    I can’t begin to tell you the impact Mrs. Bracker has made in my life. From the consistent hard work ethic, the the wonderful basketball family, the always do your best mindset, and the never give up attitude. Mrs. Bracker always lead by example. I am so grateful for all of my memories of her and with Mr. Bracker, Troy and my amazing basketball family. You will be missed, Mrs. B
  12. C.S. Manish
    Joanne was the first person to reach out to me when I joined MLC as she was chosen to be my mentor. I have always been grateful for that connect. I have numerous wonderful memories of going with her and Leon on recruiting trips to small schools in Nebraska to watch high school basketball matches. She was very generous and caring and the loss is hitting hard. My sincerest condolences to the Bracker family, especially to Leon and Troy.
  13. J Ronald Johnson
    My sincere condolences to all especially Leon and Troy. Joanne was one of my best memories of Midland. She was a great coworker. She inspired so many. Ron
  14. Jennifer Hutsell
    I am so sorry for your loss, Leon and family.
    I always enjoyed doing Joann 's hair I absolutely loved her.
  15. Lisa Stork
    Leon, I am so sorry for your loss.
    Know that she is in the arms of the Lord & let it give you some sort of peace.
    Thinking & praying for you all!

    Former student at Linden elementary so so many years ago.
    Lisa (Tracy) Stork
  16. Susan H Wood
    Joanne was one of the very first people I met upon being employed at MU--we had the picnic lunch together in Barnard park, that very first day I was here.

    It hasn't been the same since she hasn't been on campus. I am so sad I will not be seeing her again.

    My sincere sympathies to Leon, Troy and the rest of the family.
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