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Raymond Edward Braswell

03/03/1921 - 12/29/2020

Obituary:

Raymond Edward Braswell of South Hill, VA passed away on December 29, 2020.
Ray was born on March 3, 1921 to Martha Mable Schisler Braswell and William Govan Braswell.
Besides his parents, Ray was predeceased by his wife, Louise “Lucy” Stewart Braswell, brother William “Bill”
Lawrence Braswell, and sisters, Ethel Braswell Ozmar and Kathleen “Kitty” Rebecca Braswell Godfrey.
He is survived by his daughter Lisa Braswell Estes and husband Cary, grandchildren Richmond Estes and
wife, Rachel, Trip Estes and wife Jessie Krafft, Meghan Stewart Estes, and Barklie Estes and wife Ally,
great - grandchildren, Emily Arenas, Ruby Lurina Estes, and Rhett Estes, and sisters Martha Schisler
Braswell Elliott and Betty Lou Braswell Jackson. Also surviving are many loving nieces and nephews.
Ray was a World War II veteran serving in the Pacific Theater. He retired from Virginia Power (VEPCO) in
1981 after 35 years of service.
He was a long-time member of the Lion’s Club. Ray belonged to the American Legion, the VFW, and the
Moose where he enjoyed volunteering with bingo for many years.
Ray was an avid hunter and fisherman for most of his life. He was the Virginia State Target Archery
Men’s Champion for 5 years running, from 1947 to 1951. He enjoyed gardening and sharing his
vegetables , especially tomatoes and asparagus which were his specialties.
Those who knew Ray knew him as a serious yet light-hearted person, and someone who loved deeply
and who was a loyal and true husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, son, brother, and friend.
He was dearly loved and will be deeply missed.
Thank you to all the kind and loving people who cared for him at ManorCare. It truly means so much.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggest memorial donations be made to the charity of your choice.
In light of Covid 19, a private service for family members only will be held.
Crowder-Hite-Crews Funeral; Home, South Hill, VA. is serving the Braswell family.

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  1. “He was Granddaddy Raymond to me”
    I don’t recall Granddaddy calling me Trip very much. “Young fellow” was how he most often
    addressed me and my brothers. My youngest memories of him are almost exclusively from our
    adventures outdoors when he would take me and my older brother, Richmond, to explore
    Melvin Gill’s farm on the Meherrin river in Southern Virginia.
    There was a spot of land on the side of Dixie Bridge Road where Mr. Gill had a couple heavy
    machines to dredge sand from the river and load it into a truck. Richmond and I loved that spot.
    Granddaddy would take us there and keep an eye on us while we played king of the mountain
    for hours on the tall piles of sand. He had a .22 pistol he would bring and shoot at the vines
    hanging from the trees across the river. He taught us about gun safety. He would teach us
    about safety in everything we did. He was very analytical and a patient and meticulous teacher.
    His garden was meticulous as well. He studied it like a scientist. We worked with him out there
    some, between the perfectly spaced rows with each plant appropriately mounded and
    supported, but mostly he would teach us the things he learned for as long as he could hold our
    youthful attentions. I remember when I was in college one summer, we had a bad drought.
    Granddaddy had adopted a strategy of cutting the bottoms off plastic liquor bottles he saved
    from the Moose Lodge, turning the bottle upside down and burying the mouth of the bottle right
    on top of the root base of the plant. He drilled a small hole in the cap to allow only drops of
    water to seep out right on top of the roots He was very conservative with water, as he was with
    everything, because he grew up in a poor family during the depression. Even in his eighties he
    was still innovating his process to adapt to a new challenge. I was impressed.
    Granddaddy Raymond would tell us stories of his childhood during the depression. They
    trapped mink to sell their pelts for income. He knew exactly how many traps he would check and
    how many his brother, Bill, would check each morning before school. He described the walk he
    would take through the Virginia countryside on his trap-checking route. I’m sure he never forgot
    those streams and fence lines. I wonder how accurately I’ve pictured them in my mind my whole
    life. I still picture them the same way I did as a child when he described them to us.
    He told us with humble resignation that they had to eat songbirds for food during the darkest
    times. They survived The Great Depression by living off the land. There was no pride when he
    shared this with us. He told us to keep us from getting spoiled by our easy lives with
    unquestioned food security. It left a deep impression on me. I am known for not wasting food to
    this day, even at business meetings in fancy restaurants. When people make comments about
    me cleaning my plate, and sometimes their plates as well, I jokingly say that I grew up during
    the depression; I just did it vicariously through Granddaddy’s stories. The lasting impact of his
    family surviving off the land rippled throughout his life. He was bonded to the land. He slept
    indoors, but he was at home outdoors in Southern Virginia, where he spent most of an entire
    century.
    His most recounted story was essentially his resume. When he was a teenager, he had two
    jobs. One was sorting cucumbers by their quality, and the other was as a lifeguard at the pool. I
    think he earned a nickel a bushel for grading cucumbers. I don’t recall his pay at the pool, but I
    don’t think it was on a per-rescue basis. His next opportunity was at the movie theater running

    the projector. It was a skill. He taught us to acquire skills whenever possible. “Every skill is an
    asset,” he taught us. In 1995 he took the initiative to buy a computer for us to have at home so
    we would develop those skills from a young age. Knowing how to run a projector paid dividends
    when he was in the army. His duty was to show training films across the Pacific Theater during
    WWII. It was a relatively safe way to serve in a war.
    When he left the army and returned to his hometown of Lawrenceville, Virginia, he was
    presented with two opportunities. One was to run the theater for some absurd salary, I want to
    say $40 a week, or he could go to work for the power company working on the electrical lines
    for $22 a week. He recounted this lesson to us many times. He taught us to think long term.
    There was no room for growth running the projector, and it turned out that theaters declined
    quickly when the TV was introduced into homes, but the power company offered progression
    with ongoing training and promotions. He spent the rest of his career as a lineman until retiring
    at 60, before I was born. I recall meeting folks around my parent’s hometown of South Hill when
    I was out with Granddaddy. They would excitedly come up to say hello to the man who had kept
    the lights on in everyone’s homes for so many years, and he would proudly introduce me as
    Lisa’s second son. I was so proud to be the grandson of such a well-respected man.
    When I was about twelve years old, he was so excited to give me my first shotgun. It had been
    his first shotgun purchased from Sears and Roebuck for $14 when he was around the same
    age. He would have liked to have brought home a deer one of the many times he took me
    hunting, but we never did. He had limitless patience for me, and I had very little for sitting still
    too long. I remember Granddaddy Raymond exclusively as a loving and patient person. He was
    far too kind to prioritize killing a deer, at the cost of admonishing me, above spending peaceful
    quality time with me. We sat in the woods reading books together and sharing a pack of nabs
    and a Coca Cola in a tree stand beside the river. That, and playing with Richmond on the
    sandpiles, are my most cherished memories of Granddaddy.
    I knew as a child how fortunate I was to have him as my grandfather, and I am so grateful for
    having had his guiding light shine so far into my life. I loved Granddaddy Raymond so much.
    Mama always loved her Daddy so much. I’ve never heard of anyone who did not love Ray
    Braswell.

  2. So very sorry to hear of Raymond’s passing! He was a wonderful friend of our family over the years. He and my dad Melvin Gill fished the Pamunkey River for years with Cleve Hall and Pop Moody! Oh the adventure’s they shared!

Crowder-Hite-Crews Funeral Home & Crematory

PO Box 422
1504 N. Mecklenburg Ave.
South Hill, VA 23970
Local (434) 447-7171
Fax (434) 447-3212 

chcfh@crowderhitecrews.com

 

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