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Braithwait, Charles Edwin July 31, 1931 - October 25, 2014

Charles E. Braithwait was born July 31, 1931 to Alfred E. and Mary (Carpenter) Braithwait in Springfield, Missouri. He grew up in Bolivar, Missouri in a family that included two brothers, Alfred and David. The family owned and operated a department store that included a grocery and in later years a men’s clothing store. The business was run by his family and their extended family, including a grandmother, two uncles and six cousins. Charles began at an early age working in the family business and loved the work and especially the people that he met as they traded in the store. He thrived on knowing people, their families and their needs. The business was a part of the Bolivar community from 1896 through 1976 when the family sold the store.

Charles’ childhood was a happy one filled with many wonderful memories of life in Bolivar, travels throughout the United States and fishing and hunting trips in Canada. He graduated from Bolivar High School in 1949 and was President of his class. A cherished relationship was the association he had with five classmates that began in first grade and continued through high school and as adults. Charles enjoyed the monthly breakfast gatherings in Springfield in later years. He loved school and especially sports. He was a star athlete and was the football quarterback, the baseball teams catcher and played basketball.

He enrolled at Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield, Missouri and played college football. Immediately upon graduation, he was inducted into the United States Army and served throughout the Korean War. He was a Staff Sergeant serving in a MASH Unit. After the military he returned to Bolivar and worked in the family business. He returned to school to earn other degrees in education and administration and worked in public schools in Macks Creek and Osceola teaching business and history. He had a passion for teaching and coaching sports. He was a high school principal at Osceola, Mo. and in 1964 was appointed superintendent of schools at Lowry City, Mo.

He was empathetic to the needs of students and throughout his life fought and advocated for those in need. In 1964, he took a position working for a new federal program that began as the “War on Poverty”. This program implemented and administered programs throughout the United States through a thousand locally controlled Community Action Programs. He was the first President and CEO of West Central Missouri Community Action Agency with headquarters in Appleton City, MO. Through this work he touched the lives of many people and served in many capacities at the state and federal level. He is the only person to have served as President of the two National organizations that advocate and serve low income people throughout the United States. Most notably, he was appointed to a National Commission by President Gerald Ford in 1976.

He was most proud of his family. He and Sandra Kay were married in 1972 and were the parents of seven children, Jim, Paula, Greg, Mark, Libby, Dana and Kayla. They were blessed with wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren that he delighted in and loved dearly. His grandchildren are Brandon, Crystal Kay, Russ, Nathan, Nicholas, Matthew, Derek, Jessica, Zachary, McKenzie, Garrison, Remington, Adam, Whitni, Couri, Jake, his step-grandchildren, Jennifer, Ashley and Cortney. His great-grand children are: Moxie, Chesney, Carver, Lola Jane, Brody, Zoe, Bentley and another little boy due in February.

He was saved and had an eternal experience of salvation when he was 13 years old while at a church camp in Fayetteville, Arkansas. For the first time in his life he heard a preacher say the word “saved” and felt troubled, heartbroken and burdened. He suddenly felt peace and joy when he submitted his heart to God. On Saturday, October 25, 2014 he passed away. His passing was sad, but peaceful, with serenity witnessed by his wife, Sandra, his cousin Barbara, and his seven children and grandchildren gathered by his bedside.

He will be greatly missed by those that loved him. Even though we are deeply saddened, we rejoice with great happiness because we know he is dwelling in Heaven and we will gather there with him for all eternity.

Date: Thursday, October 30, 2014
Time: 5 PM to 9 PM

Visitation Location:
Assembly of God Auditorium, Osceola, MO

Date: Friday, October 31, 2014
Time: 1 PM

Service Location:
Assembly of God Auditorium, Osceola, MO


The family suggests contributions to the Old Lowry City School Restoration Project or the National Community Action Foundation in care of the funeral home.

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