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Bob Braudis, former Pitkin sheriff, has died

Staff report

Bob Braudis, the former Pitkin County sheriff and county commissioner who left an indelible mark on local law enforcement and politics, died Friday morning.

Bob Braudis
Photo by Jim Paussa

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, acting as the Braudis family’s representative, confirmed Friday that Braudis passed around 4 to 5 a.m. from natural causes. He was 77.

“Just a brilliant, brilliant mind with the most fantastic memory,” DiSalvo said by phone from Cooperstown, New York, where he is visiting. “Every detail and name, he never struggled for names and was just a very, very special person with a huge heart as big as his frame. All of this sounds so corny and it’s true: He had a gigantic heart, and we’re all going to be affected by this for a while.”



Braudis won the sheriff’s seat of Pitkin County in 1986. His popularity with the electorate carried over into November 2000, when Pitkin County voters repealed term limits for the office (along with the assessor and clerk), so Braudis could remain their sheriff. He retired at the end of 2010.

Roaring Fork Fire Rescue chief Scott Thompson was hired by Braudis in the late 1980s and he remained a deputy in full- and part-time capacity for 17 years.




Thompson said the sheriff’s office was a tight-knit group.

“It was the department at the time (that attracted him) and the camaraderie, the sense of family there,” Thompson said.

He said Braudis’s legacy was his way of teaching deputies how to treat people.

“Treating everyone fairly, treating everyone with respect,” Thompson said. “He really fostered my management style, which I use to this day. There are things that pop into the back of my head — what would have Bob done or what would have Bob said. I still use that 21 years later.”

Several people who trained under Braudis went on to lead local emergency response agencies, Thompson noted.

Pitkin County commissioner chair Patti Clapper was friends with Braudis for decades after meeting through their involvement in civic issues.

“Obviously Bob Braudis was a big man in so many ways,” Clapper said. “It is hard to put into words how much he did for so many lives and for our community as a whole. He will be truly missed and he will definitely never be forgotten.”

He survived by two daughters, Stephanie Braudis and Heidi Mitchell.

This story will be updated.

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