"Live Simply, Give To Others"
"Live simply, give to others" is how Clayton Brant lived his life.
That powerful, five-word message is also inscribed upon Clayton Brant's headstone.
Brant, an immigration attorney in Lincoln, "was an amazing person," said sister Cathy Sus of Omaha. "He was just brilliant."
A member of the Sierra Club, Nebraskans for Peace, the Nebraska Bar Association and a longtime NET Television and Radio supporter, Brant lived life to its fullest – by living simply and caring about others.
Born in upstate New York and raised in Chicago until the family moved to Omaha in 1955, Brant graduated from Xavier University in Ohio, received a master's in mathematics and physics from Springhill College in Alabama, and a law degree from the University of Oregon-Eugene. He lived in Grand Island where he practiced legal aid until moving to Lincoln in the mid-1970s.
Sus misses her older brother. They were very close and emailed each other every day. The siblings also have a younger sister, Beth Herrin, who lives in Dallas. "He was a great brother, and so good to us growing up," she said.
Besides practicing law, Sus remembers her brother also enjoyed teaching. Over the years, he taught legal aid, math and science. He also taught himself sign language while teaching at the Nebraska School for the Deaf, where he coached the football team to a division title.
"He was interested, just fascinated, with people and the world around him," Sus said. "Life was never about him."
Brant, who died November 10, 2010, made sure his financial estate was equally directed to three beneficiaries: NET Foundation for Television & Radio, Creighton University and Nebraskans for Peace.
"My brother loved Nebraska," said Sus. "His goal was to travel all the roads in Nebraska, especially the by-ways. He never took the interstate. He was an avid golfer who played practically all of the courses in every small town across the state."
Brant documented his travels and his golf rounds in handwritten logs. He wrote stories in spiral notebooks about his camping trips to state parks and his driving forays with wife Joan, who was originally from McCool Junction.
Brandt also enjoyed watching NET programs and documentaries about Nebraska and nature. A long-time Husker women's volleyball season ticketholder, Brant enjoyed watching the volleyball action from the Coliseum as well as the state high school sports championships and playoffs on NET.
"Clayton thought public broadcasting gave viewers a reliable option to the other stuff on TV," she recalled. "He never watched junk. He was very careful with his time."
A lifelong reader, Brant especially devoured books by Willa Cather and Mahatma Gandhi. Sus said he was a frequent user and big supporter of the Lincoln Public Libraries, even in his later years when he relied more on his hearing than his sight and made the switch to listening to books on tape.
But when it came to watching a documentary on the flight of hummingbirds or delighting in the dance of the Sandhill cranes, Brant's dial was always switched to NET Television.
"He felt NET Television gave his life enrichment and enjoyment."
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