BIOGRAPHIES of HENDERSON CO TN

RICHIE BRAZZEL

Several days ago one of our really great citizens passed away. After living 57 years happy life with Clara Allen Brazzel and on the last suffering with respiratory troubles and diabetes, "Richie" passed away on Sept. 2, 1986.. A long-time friend, Charles Thomason, of Lexington was called to do the funeral. He was a member of the Church of Christ. Interment was in the Scotts Hill Cemetery, known for years as the Methodist Cemetery. No community can not long afford to lose too many citizens of Richie's status. He was so simple, kind, intelligence and respectful of others that a casual acquaintance would likely never really present him at his best.

He met his wife to be soon after he came here from Lillie, LA in the late 20's. They were married on Jan. 28, 1929. Except when away attending school, the couple lived in Clara's home area where pioneer kinsmen laid off land about 1828. She was a homemaker all their lives together. You could hardly name a flower, schrub or vegetable that they did not raise. For extra use and enjoyment, they always had small field crops, pecans, muscadines and purple martins. Richie was an authority on birds of all kinds and small wild life generally. Until near his death, he grew gourds and delighted in "fixing them for Martins", and giving them to friends. The Martin hole in a gourd had to be within one eighth of an inch of the ideal size and always he drilled small holes in the gourd bottom to grain any excess water. He said a strange thing about this bird is that it can see and swoop down on a mosquito at least the length of a football field.

The Brazells always had Martins - many of them - from late February or early March when they flew in from Brazil or Argentina until July or August when they departed for the long flight back to South America. This gentle man was just as much versed in bees and could hold any audience when he described them in full. He was a bee expert and knew well the art of raising bees and producing the best honey. He and Clara liked to save many jars of the very best honey and give it to visiting friends who came along.

Richie had been afflicted with a type of pneumonia when a child which left him unable to attend public school. His parents taught him the ABC's at home. But at age 16 he entered public school and in six short years had completed all grades 9 - 12, a feat possibly unprecedented. During this time he never missed a class !! This good man attended Union University and then Memphis State University after he and Clara were married, obtaining his B.A. and M.A. degrees. He taught school for 37 years mostly in the Scotts Hill area. At his funeral recently, ex-superintendent Tillman Stewart told me that he wrote Richie's first check for teaching and then, 37 years later, his last. Richie retired several years ago.

When the late Ellie E. Scott left the Farmers State Bank as Cashier here, first thought was to secure Richie Brazzel to replace him. The late Dr. R.L. Wylie, President of the Bank Directors, went personally to see Richie about this. Richie reluctantly agreed to take the job until they could find a suitable man. But the teacher-at-heart went back to his favorite profession after 18 months "handling money." He said goodbye to students, everyone of whom he loved, in 1966. Surviving Richie are his wife, Clara, not at all well herself; a daughter (adopted) Carol (Mrs. Robert) Wood of Sardis, ARlin, a brother of Sacramento CA who visitedhere a few weeks ago; and two brothers of Eldorado AR who could not come to his funeral ecause of illness.

A typical Christian virtue of Richie and Clara was seen just before last Christmas. They called me to know if I knew of a person or family, unable to work for food for any reason, and who deserved help; if so, they wanted to give a big box of good food from their three crammed full freezers. I once heard of a passenger ship being lost in the wide mouth of the great Amazon River in Brazil. The ship's drinking water was about to run out and the ship thought to be on salt sea water, sent out signals hoping to get extra fresh water from some other vessel. Soon, this ship got the simple replay: "Let down your buckets where you are." So doing, their buckets came up with sparkling water from the Amazons' fresh water.

We poor human beings are much like that. We go around with a long face and feel sure the world is going to the dogs if it has not already done so. But really, there are so many good people yet we have only to recognize them to feel much etter. The great Conwell made missions and a good name by writing that little true story, "Acres of Diamonds"/ there are countless diamonds at our very feet and none would be able to count his blessings ifhe tried. Richie Brazzel, a diamond of a man himself, always counted his diamonds. He "let down his buckets where he was" and always drew up an abundance of fresh water. OH, for the world to increase his tribe.

In loving memory by his friend, Gordon H. Turner Sr.

News article probably from the Lexington Progress dated around 1973

Back Home