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Dr. Joyce Brandes

October 01, 2023 - 00:00
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  • Dr. Joyce Brandes

Dr. Joyce Ann Krittenbrink Brandes passed away surrounded by her family the morning of Sept. 21, 2023.

A caring daughter, loving sister, devoted wife, wonderful mother and gifted educator, she was born in Kingfisher on Aug. 30, 1950, to Dorothy and Curran Krittenbrink.

She attended Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School before graduating from Kingfisher High School in 1968.

After getting her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma, she began teaching special education in 1972, the same year she married John Brandes, to whom she was married for over 50 years.

Indicative of the five decades she would spend in a classroom, Dr. Brandes taught herself sign language the summer after graduating from OU so that she could assist her students unable to communicate verbally.

She taught at Cleveland Elementary School.

At Cleveland, she taught children diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and a number of other issues that complicated their education.

Some of her students eventually became educators themselves - one of her proudest achievements.

In 1998, she returned to OU and earned her master’s in education. After being hired by OU as an adjunct professor, she went on to earn her Ph.D. at OU in 2004, with the goal of “teaching teachers how to teach.”

She lectured internationally and was the author of dozens of articles often centering on teaching strategies and autism.

Her awards include the Walraven Award for outstanding contributions in special education in Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma Student Association Teaching-Advising Award as voted on by undergraduates.

She was also chosen as one of the four most inspirational professors on campus as voted by OU student-athletes.

Dr. Brandes founded what came to be known as the “Brandes Prom” - a prom that enabled students with special needs to enjoy a prom of their own - a tradition that continues at OU to this day.

Joyce Brandes is survived by her husband, John Brandes; children Jennifer (Drew) Mason and Brian (Ariana) Brandes; grandchildren Riley Mason, Jack Mason and Konstantin Brandes; brothers John, Jim, Mark and Paul Krittenbrink; sisters-in-law, Priscilla, Francie, Aggie, Debra and Donna.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Curran and Dorothy Krittenbrink; and her brother, Patrick.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the University of Oklahoma Foundation, C/O The Joyce Brandes Prom, 100 W. Timberdell Road, Norman, OK, 73019.