URBANDALE, IOWA, US — Kenneth Eugene Bratney, 94, founder of Bratney Companies, died Sept. 27 after illness due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
After working several years as a sales engineer for an agricultural equipment supply and design firm, Bratney decided to start his own business in 1964. He started the Ken Bratney Company in his basement with his wife Ann, who preceded him in death in 2015, acting as secretary.
During the seed corn and soybean facilities construction boom of the late 1960s and 1970, he merged with other compatible companies to expand the business’ capabilities, including construction services.
The business continued to prosper, encompassing the needs of most agricultural crops throughout the United States, Europe and South America. Today, Bratney Companies is a well-known provider of equipment and project solutions for agricultural facilities. The business has offices, branch offices, and/or warehouse operations in Iowa, Missouri, Idaho, North Dakota, California and Argentina.
Bratney was born on May 21, 1926, in Portland, Oregon, US, to Erlem James Bratney and Bertha Mae Pierce Bratney. He grew up in Portland as the third and youngest child.
He graduated from Portland’s Washington High School during the latter part of WWII. He joined the Navy, and following his recruit training, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant JG and sent to Carroll College in Helena, Montana, US. When his work at Carroll was completed, Bratney was accepted into the Engineering College at the University of Iowa, where he graduated in 1948 with a degree in civil engineering.
He married Ann Warden in July 1948. The couple had five children between 1950 and 1954. Due to his career decisions, the family moved to Danville, Illinois, US, in 1961, then two years later to Des Moines, Iowa, US.
Bratney is survived by five children, Lynn, Paul (Anna), Bill (Joni), Barbara Flaherty, and Bruce (Sylvia), 10 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. In addition to his wife Ann, he is preceded in death by his granddaughter, Laura Marie Flaherty, and his two sisters, Jeanette Nell Condit and Helen Louise Atterbury.
To minimize COVID-19 exposure, the funeral service will be private for the immediate family only at Westkirk Presbyterian Church in Urbandale at 10 a.m. on Oct. 8. The service will be live streamed with a link appearing around 9:45 a.m., prior to the service, on Bratney’s obituary page at www.IlesCares.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions in Bratney’s name be directed to Hope Ministries of Des Moines, PO Box 862, Des Moines, Iowa 50304.