The earthly life of Russell E. Bracy stopped on September 13, 2021. His life is now being spent with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Russell was born on June 3, 1928, in Clarksville, Tennessee, to William C. and Iona C. Bracy. He was born the 14th of 15 children and became the first in his family to graduate high school and to ultimately finish college.
Growing up with his sisters and cousins, Russell, guided by his family traditions and patriotic duty, joined the U.S. Army, near the end of World War II, and became a military policeman. He was given the prestigious post-war honor and responsibility of being a part of the protection team for the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. He escorted the emperor into many war-torn areas throughout Japan, including the nuclear bomb destroyed cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
After the war, Russell attended Bethel College, in McKenzie, Tennessee, and began doing work for the Lord, preaching at two small Cumberland Presbyterian churches. In 1952, wanting to formalize his ministerial education, he proceeded to the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. His walk as a Methodist began with his seminary school and as a circuit minister for five small Methodist churches.
During this time, he met a lady attending Scarritt College for Christian Workers by the name of Margaret Janelle Lovelace. The stars aligned, the emotions overwhelmed, and God blessed the union of these two, during a school break, on December 28, 1952. Russell and Janelle proceeded to have three children Sharon, Pamela, and Steven. Today there are nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren that follow their lead.
In 1955, Russell returned to the military life as an Air Force Reserve chaplain. This pull of the military led to a three-year tour as a full-time Air Force chaplain, with positions in El Paso, Texas and Miami, Florida. He and the family decided a return to full time ministry was their best path, so he rejoined the Air Force Reserve and returned to Tennessee and the Methodist pulpit.
In 1960, following the birth of his youngest child, the 5-some family moved to Oklahoma. Oklahoma life suited the Okie Janelle quite well, and Russell and the kids quickly adapted. Chaplain Bracy decided to leave the US Air Force Reserve for the Oklahoma Army National Guard in December 1965. Russell thoroughly enjoyed his monthly drills and his 2-week summer “vacations” as a National Guard chaplain. While in Oklahoma, the Methodist church moved him nine times in 30 years, whereas the Army National Guard just kept promoting him. Russell proudly earned the rank of Colonel in 1980, and was appointed as the head of the Oklahoma Army National Guard Chaplain Corps. He remained in that position until he retired from the military, after more than 32 years of service, in December 1987.
In 1990 Russell decided to stop preaching full time and move closer to his daughters and grandchildren. This last move led him to Fort Worth, Texas. He had always found community service and personal relations extremely important. Over the years he was a member of many civic organizations, including the Lions Club, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Freemasons, just to name a few. He became very active and engaged in the Masonic organizations in Fort Worth, highlighted by being a 50-year Master Mason, a Scottish-Rite member, a member of Moslah Shrine and Past Commander, and the Commander of the Moslah Shrine Legion of Honor group.
Connecting to and speaking to people was a primary ingredient that made up Russell E. Bracy and all he did. His unique ability to be brutely honest with pure love, curiosity, and concern will never be duplicated. He said and did many things others would not say or do, yet he never had an ill thought or constructed a harmful deed towards anyone. The love of God flowed through him in a way that was only him. From his singing, his joke telling, and all the other things that embarrassed his family, caused many to roll their eyes, and most to raise a bit of a grin, kinda like his crooked grin, he will be missed, for he was an original. Rest assured, God and he are grinning together now.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
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