Children's bookshop Wild Rumpus mourns the death of co-founder Tom Braun

He died peacefully at his home on Oct. 31.
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Tom Braun and wife Felicity Britton.

Tom Braun and wife Felicity Britton.

Tributes have been paid to the co-founder of nationally acclaimed children's bookshop, Wild Rumpus, who has died four years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Tom Braun died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, according to his obituary, with the bookstore he cherished announcing his death on Sunday.

He co-founded the bookshop in Linden Hills with his ex-wife in 1992, and over the years it became one of America's most celebrated bookshops, a magical wonderland for children where cats and chicks roam freely, and which chinchillas, birds, and ferrets call their home.

His obituary describes the store as "like walking through a portal into Tom Braun's brain," a place of "curiosity and learning, wit, whimsy, artistic vision, great humor and a deep, abiding appreciation of words, language and literature, plus a great love and respect for children and animals."

Braun was an active community member, earning the nickname "The Mayor of Linden Hills." He helped found the nonprofit Linden Hills Power & Light, which later became known as Minneapolis Climate Action, a collaborative enterprise that creates local initiatives to combat climate change.

The nonprofit is now chaired by Braun's wife, Felicity Britton, whom he married in 2015 shortly after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, having met at a group meeting some years earlier.

In an emotional tribute on her Facebook page, Britton said her husband was "brilliant, creative, witty, curious, charismatic, warm, vibrant, generous of spirit, passionate, romantic, with a zest for life, love for wordplay and a much appreciated blindness to my flaws."

"I hope when people see beauty in nature, a work of art, an object beautifully crafted, hear a hearty laugh or encounter an intuitive thinker and generous listener, they will remember you," she added.

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His friend Dan Nepp, who owns an architectural firm next door to Wild Rumpus, described Braun to WCCO as a "very gentle soul."

Wild Rumpus will continue his legacy in Linden Hills. Just last year, the shop at Upton and 43rd Street was named Publisher's Weekly's Bookstore of the Year.

A celebration of his life will be held at the Walker Art Center Skyline Room on Nov. 25 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Wild Rumpus will be open on that day, with all profits donated to Minneapolis Climate Action, The Alzheimer's Association and Emerge MN.

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