‘Doug was so easy to know’: Friends, family gather to remember home nurse who was shot and killed
Feb. 5, 2023 Updated Sun., Feb. 5, 2023 at 9:17 p.m.
A collection of photos of Douglas Brant, the in-home nurse shot and killed in December, are seen at his celebration of life at Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. (Nina Culver/For The Spokesman-Review)
Friends, family and colleagues of Douglas Michael Brant gathered Saturday for a celebration of life to remember the nurse who was shot and killed on the job on Dec. 1.
Several people spoke about how they knew Brant and how he had touched their lives. He was remembered as kind, generous, dedicated and a talented musician with a strong faith in God. Many pictures of Brant were on display, and in many of them he held a guitar.
Brant was born in Portland and grew up in California with his parents and sister. His first cousin, Kelvin Martin, talked about how his earliest memory is of walking somewhere with Brant and his sister when Martin was 2.
“We grew up right around the corner from each other,” he said. “Doug and I played in the dirt together. We were together a lot.”
Martin recalled that one of his favorite memories is of the night that he and Brant, as teenagers, rode their motorcycles at midnight under a full moon.
“We called each other ‘brother ’ because neither one of us had one, and that was what we imagined it was like,” he said.
Many of Brant’s friends and family played music and sang during the celebration of life at Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church. His sister, Trudy Dant, spoke about how important music was to her brother. He was nearly always part of a band and taught guitar lessons.
“Music and sound were part of him since he was born,” she said. “Doug’s love language was music. With it he created community and drew all of our hearts together.”
In his later years he made sure to have plenty of instruments on hand so that when friends came over to his house, they could have jam sessions. “He had a bit of an addiction to band equipment,” Dant said.
Their parents divorced when Brant was 6, and he didn’t take it well, Dant said. “He somehow, in his little boy mind, thought it was his fault,” she said.
It weighed heavily on him as a child and as a teen. Dant described her brother as sensitive and kind and said he had a rough time in high school. In the 10th grade he took and passed the GED test. He worked in construction for a year with his father, Dant said. She said she was afraid he was going to fall into the life of a starving musician and pushed him to consider a career in nursing. He listened to her advice.
“I think I bullied him into it, but he was great at it,” she said.
Brant worked in several different departments at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle for several years. Fellow nurse Carl Burroughs remembered spotting a long-haired man wearing scrubs walking past his office carrying a guitar case. As a musician himself, Burroughs said it was inevitable that the two would become friends.
“Doug was so easy to know,” he said.
Nurse Kathleen Thompson performed a Nightingale Tribute that is used for fallen nurses, which involves lighting a white candle next to a white rose. She said Brant lived his life with wisdom and grace.
“He was extremely generous with his time, his talent and his treasure,” Thompson said. “Doug is not remembered for his 24 years as a nurse, he’s remembered for the impact that he had.”
Brant began working in home health care in Renton in 2005, then did hospice care for several years. After his sister and her family moved to Spokane, he followed and began working for the Providence Visiting Nurses Association, where he treated patients in their homes.
Dant said he wanted to come to Spokane to be closer to her sons as they grew up.
“He wanted to know them and he wanted to love on them,” she said.
Brant was visiting a new patient when the patient’s grandson, who reportedly has a history of mental illness, allegedly shot and killed Brant. Police have arrested 33-year-old Mitchell E. Chandler, who has been charged with second-degree murder.
Dant said she hopes that her brother’s death will change the way people look at mental illness. She noted that Chandler gave a television interview in which he said he killed Brant because he believed her brother caused the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that he had to kill Brant to save society.
She said she’s grateful to have had her brother for 56 years. “Doug was an ordinary guy with great talents,” she said. “I will miss him every day of my life.”
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