Ernie Braswell's belief was God first, then family, then the fire department. His faith was a cornerstone in his life; having his wife by his side added to his strength; and being Fire Chief, Building Inspector and Emergency Preparedness Director for the City of Branson completed him.
Ernie Braswell passed away on Saturday, February 23, 2013, at the Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MO., with his family at his side. He was born in the railroad depot in Urbanette, AR on July 22, 1933 to Ernest and Edna Braswell. Nearly 60 years ago on June 1, 1953, he married Mary Lou Barnum. He was a loving and strong influence in his family's life. He was active in the Branson and Ozark Presbyterian Churches.
Ernie was a Branson fireman for 42 years, and Chief for the last 27 years. He helped found Western Taney County Fire District, converted the fire department from volunteer to a paid staff and introduced a formal training program. Ernie served on the board of directors of the Missouri Fire Chiefs' Association.
After retirement, he became a Master Gardener. He and his wife built 3 acres of gardens at Garrison Spring and served as "God's co-caretaker" of the spring. He was a member of numerous nature-related clubs, volunteered with PDA to repair damage from natural events and was a volunteer at Hammons hall for 20 years.
Ernie is survived by his wife Mary Lou, daughter Cheryl of Springfield, son Michael and wife, Tammy, of Branson, two granddaughters, Ariel and Victoria. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Robert Braswell.
Services were held on February 27, under the direction of the Forsyth Whelchel Funeral Chapel. Memorials may be made to Friends of the Garden at the Springfield Botanical Gardens or a charitable organization of your choice.