BANGOR – Norman H. Braley, 72, died quietly at a Bangor hospital on Sept. 5, 2013, after spending two weeks surrounded by many people who loved him. He was born Aug. 20, 1941, in Greenville, the son of Frances A. Blais. He recently celebrated his 72nd birthday at Camp CaPella where he was honored by many friends.
During his courageous life journey, Norman accomplished many milestones against incredible odds. He was married, purchased a home, was employed by Bangor Abatement at the time of his death, was a loyal church member and traveled across the country twice.
He was a volunteer at the Bangor House, the Salvation Army, the OHI Board of Directors, the Greater Bangor Shelter, The American Folk Festival and was a past member of Speaking Up for Us.
Three of his most exciting times were when he flew with his wife, Edith, and friend, Bonnie-Jean Brooks, to Washington, D.C., to visit the Capitol and in 1998 with his friend, Bonnie, to Anchorage, Alaska, to represent Maine in an International Self-Advocacy Conference. More recently he and Bonnie set out on a cross-country Amtrak adventure from Portland to San Diego to speak at a national conference and to do genealogical research.
Norman was predeceased by his mother, Frances; his wife, Edith Rackliff Braley; his grandparents, Ralph and Sylvia Stevens; his aunt, Bernice Clark; as well as many colleagues at OHI. He leaves a legacy behind at OHI where he was known as a man of great persuasion, wit, compassion and self-advocate extraordinaire. His sheer will and determination were inspirational to his friends and his OHI family. He taught them all about the spirit of independence, community inclusion, fortitude, and kindness.
Many people loved Norman but his best friend, John Rumney, greatest supporter, Wendy Tyler, and friend, Audrine Bunker, are to be especially praised for their unique relationship with this inimitable soul! He taught his friend, Bonnie, how to be a better CEO at OHI during their 32 years together.
OHI and Norman would like to thank the staff of the CCU at St. Joseph Hospital for their gentle and loving care of this man. He taught them as he has so many others.
Norman would like to invite his friends to wear his favorite color, RED, and to join together at the Columbia Street Baptist Church to celebrate his life at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. Interment will be 3 p.m. Wednesday, at Pingree Center Cemetery, Parkman. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to “The Norman Braley Self-Advocacy Fund” care of OHI, 25 Freedom Parkway, Hermon, ME 04401. Arrangements by Crosby & Neal, Guilford. For an online guest register, please go to www.CrosbyNeal.com.