Early Grady Brackin, Sr., 94, of Marianna, passed away January 15, 2018 in Marianna, Florida. He was born July 1, 1923 in Dothan, AL. He spent his early years in Enterprise, AL, moving back to Dothan in 1939 where he graduated from Dothan High School in 1943. He was the last surviving member of his high school class. Following graduation he enlisted in the Army Air Corp. After attending training schools in Nebraska, Texas and Las Vegas, he was assigned to a crew on a B-17 and served in Saipan with Air Sea Rescue until February 1946.
After the war he returned to Dothan and worked with the fire department before going to college at Troy State Teacher’s College (now Troy University). He majored in music and fronted the Troy Wavemen Dance Band for three years. He spent his life as a band director at several locations, the last of which was Marianna. He organized and directed the Marianna Middle School Band where he taught for 14 years until his retirement in 1985. At the time of his retirement there were 371 students in the band program. While at Marianna he founded the Small School Honor Band which allowed the top band students in the surrounding counties to gather once a year and perform advanced music under a guest clinician. Through the years, when he would encounter a former student, he might not remember the student’s name but he could always remember which instrument the student had played. Grady continued his involvement in music by serving as mentor to young band directors and as a guest judge and clinician at various contests and concerts. He conducted his final concert in Tifton, GA at the age of 91.
After retiring, he and his wife Bobbie travelled during the next 10 years enjoying children and grandchildren. In 1995 they bought land in the north Georgia mountains, close to Blairsville. With the help of their children, grandchildren and friends they began building a cabin in 1999 and continued to enjoy their time in the mountains until Bobbie’s death in 2015. Both were active members of the First United Methodist Church in Marianna.
He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers – Tydle Ray, Joe and John, his first wife – Joyce Deuel Brackin and his second wife of 49 years – Barbara (Bobbie) May Brackin.
He is survived by three sons – Earl Brackin, Jr (Lisa) of Calhoun, GA, Ray Barber (Patti), and Randy Barber (Darlene) of Tifton, GA, and Jody Burke (Bo) of Marianna, FL, 12 grandchildren, including Ben (Kara) Burke and Daniel (Emily) Burke, formerly of Marianna, 14 great grandchildren, and Blanche Amison, devoted friend and caregiver.
The family will be gathering at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Jody and Bo Burke.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 20, 2018 at First United Methodist Church in Marianna with the Reverend Dr. Nathan Attwood officiating. Interment will follow in the Dothan City Cemetery with James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel directing.
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at First United Methodist Church of Marianna and asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the First United Methodist Church of Marianna.