BURLINGTON, IOWA, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1954
Supt. Ray H. Bracewell, 66, Is Dead
Ray H. Bracewell, 66, superintendent of Burlington public schools for the past 17 years and connected with the local school system for 35 years, died Friday.
Bracewell, who has been seriously ill since August, died at 1:45 p.m. at his home, 1601 Division.
While he had to be under an oxygen tent part of the time, he continued to hold conferences at his home and work several hours a day in preparation for the opening of school Sept. 7. He had continued since to do some school work at home. Bracewell’s last illness came rather suddenly. In 1950 he underwent a major operation and appeared to have recovered from it. Then, in late July of this year, he suddenly went back under a doctor’s care.
Death was attributed to a chronic ailment. The body is at Giles Funeral Home.
Born on a farm of 80 hillside acres near Jacksonville, Ill., Bracewell became nationally known through his work with school administration organizations.
He came to Burlington April 1, 1919, as high school principal from Springfield, Ill. After he helped establish the local junior college in 1920, he continued as high school and college principal until he became superintendent in 1937. In that year he served as both principal and superintendent for about two months until his successor at the high school , Robert White was obtained. Bracewell succeeded Wiley Brooks as local superintendent.
In August of this year, the school board officially named the high school and college athletic bowl Bracewell Stadium.
He was largely responsible for the development of the field from a lumberyard to its present status. The stadium was the first high school athletic field to be lighted for night games. Bracewell personally insured the cost of the lighting until it was finally paid for from game proceeds.
In August, too, present and former school board members presented the Bracewells with a television set in recognition of his service as superintendent -------indeciperable ------ 1954 when he stepped down as chairman of the Iowa Commission on Teacher Evaluation and Professional Standards of the Iowa State Educational association. He had served with the commission for a decade.
While in Burlington he had served as the first vice president of the National Secondary Schools Principals association, appearing on national programs. He had served as president of Southern Iowa Teachers association and a member of the executive committee of the Iowa State Education association. He had also been an officer of superintendents of cities of 5,000 and over, had conducted salary studies for the ISEA. This year the Burlington Teachers association provided him with a life membership in the National Education association. He was also prominent in the American Association of School Administrators.
Locally, he was proud that he had taught a Bible class at First Methodist church for 35 years.
He was active in all types of civic work, the Rotary club, and was a member of the Masonic order. His hobbies included gardening, golfing, fishing and bridge.
Born June 27, 1888, he was the son of Frank E. and Rozetta Spencer Bracewell. His father was a Methodist minister. On Nov. 28, 1918, he married Gertrude Effting, in Jacksonville.
She survives, as do two daughters, Mrs. Norbert Woods of
Loudonville, N. Y., and Mrs. James Doolittle, Albuquerque, N. Mex.; a sister, Edna Bracewell of Jacksonville; four brothers, Lloyd of Maywood, Ill., Ross W. of Colfax, Ill., Frank E. of Jacksonville, and Dr. Kent Bracewell of St. Paul, Minn. Seven grandchildren also survive.
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At the age of 17 Bracewell ranked first in his county scholastically, and won a one-year scholarship and $10. With this he started to school at Wipple Academy and Illinois college at Jacksonville.
He sold shoes, fired furnaces and did odd jobs to help pay for (here there are a couple of illegible lines) he dropped out to teach. By 1915 he had finished his academy and college training, getting in some conservatory work, and doing some church choir work for pay. The choir work, however, failed to meet the expenses of his conservatory training, he once said. In college he made the football team one year and was active in debate and oratorical work. He dropped football because of his outside jobs.
On graduating at the age of 27 he went to Springfield, Ill. high school as the youngest teacher on the staff. Before the end of the year there he became assistant principal along with his duties of teaching mathematics.
He then began graduate work at the University of Illinois. Later he did graduate work at University of Chicago where he received his master’s degree in 192?. He also taught six summer school sessions out of Cedar Falls, working in the field of psychology. He had completed his work at University of Iowa up to the point of writing his thesis for a PhD. Throughout his career he attended educational workshops and seminars and often appeared on programs.
At Springfield in 1918 he opened a new million dollar high school as acting principal.
He was 29 at the time and enlisted in the army as a corporal. He was assigned to Camp Joseph R. Johnson as the man in charge of planning and records at the training school there. He was discharged with the rank of second Lieutenant in November of 1918 and enrolled at University of Chicago for further study.
In the spring of 1919 there was an effort to place Bracewell as a school principal at Colorado Springs, Colo. George Brown of Burlington, however, got the job and Bracewell came to Burlington to succeed Brown on April 1, 1919.
It was on Dec. 1, 1937 that he was named superintendent of schools here.
Last year Bracewell was given a 3-year contract and plans were made at his suggestion to begin looking for a successor.
The school board Wednesday chose Millard Z. Pond, 46, of Urbana, Ohio, as assistant superintendent and the probable successor to Bracewell,
While there was no immediate announcement by the board of education, it was assumed in school circles that Pond would very likely come here as superintendent.
Pond said Wednesday he hopes to move to Burlington about Nov. 15.
Typed from a copy of the newspaper
article announcing Ray Bracewell’s
death by Mildred Powell