On Thursday, April 20th our mom, Dr. Mildred J. Brazell, slipped quietly away to Heaven. She was 98. She was born in Conway, Arkansas in 1925 to Troy and Wilma Hill. Her life is amazing to us now. Her younger school years were spent working on the family homestead outside of Magdalena, NM. During WWII she taught high school classes at her dad’s school with only 2 years of college under her belt (There weren’t enough teachers.) Mildred earned her B.A. from the University of Central Arkansas and continued her studies at ASU earning her master’s degree in 1957. She was the first doctorate awarded in ASU’s Health, Physical Education degree program in 1967. In doing so she and her husband, Dr. David Burl Brazell, were ASU’s first husband/wife duo to earn their doctorates at the same graduation. Dad was head of the Health, Physical Education Department and Athletic Director at Grand Canyon University (then GCC). He and mom shared a common philosophy which many found surprising for the successful sports program established during their early years of GCU. They emphasized that their majors understand that they are educators first. As a professor Mildred shared her passion of the importance of physical education for all-for life. As always she and dad were a team. In 2001, Grand Canyon University bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus upon both Mildred and David as an honor for their decades of teaching and service. So many have shared that it was hard to imagine one without the other. Mildred was active in many professional organizations: National and AZ alliance for HPERD, Delta Kappa Gamma, National Association for Physical Educators in Higher Education (charter member), Kappa Delta Pi, AZ State Health Commission, Danforth Fellow, AAHPER, North Central Accreditation Team. In 1970 Mildred was a finalist for the AAUW Women of Achievement award. She was a runner- up to the winner: Sandra Day O’Connor. She would always smile and say “not bad company.” Mom loved her Sunday School classes at First Southern Baptist Church and taught every age between college and young marrieds thru her last ladies class at the age of 92. Each one was a blessing to her. Mildred (aka. Mimi to her grandkids or Mrs. B to her host of students) leaves behind her 2 children Don and Diane; 4 grandchildren Jason (& Kim), Sharon (& Adam), Luke (& Vicky), and Rachel; 3 great-grandchildren Emma, Jack, and Audrey. We are sorry for our loss but happy for her joy of seeing her Savior, brothers, sister, mother, father and teammate Dad.
Posted online on April 25, 2023
Published in The Arizona Republic