Richard Eugene Bratton, Jr.


Richard Eugene Bratton Jr, 73, son of Richard Sr. and Verna (Audrain) Bratton was born February 5, 1946 in Jefferson City.  He passed away April 10, 2019 at his home in Houston, MO.
     Richard is preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, Glenn Sr. and Vera (Wilcox) Romines; brother-in-law, Glenn Romines Jr; brother-in-law, Larry T. Hackman; and beloved dog Po.
     He is survived by his wife Gayla of Houston; daughter, Teresa K. Thompson (Bratton) and husband Troy of Houston; son, and West Point graduate, Richard E. Bratton III of Washington DC.  Richard was extremely proud of his son’s accomplishment serving like he did in the United States Army.  Surviving family includes three sisters, Carolyn Hackman of Overland Park, KS, Rita Beaird (Bob) of Orlando, FL, Audra Bratton (Pete Peters) of Maricopa, AZ; two brothers, David Bratton (Karen) of Las Colinas, TX, and Donald Bratton of  Port St. Lucie, FL, sister-in-law, Rita Romines of Springfield, MO, two brothers-in-law, Robert Romines (Jane) and Don Romines (Barbara)of Houston, MO; four grandchildren, Matthew Thompson, Mariah Martin, and Michael and Ashley Collins; five great-grandchildren, Tali and Konner Martin and Dawson, Joseph, and Miranda Collins.  He was a beloved uncle of Chet and Eric Bratton, Ashley and Ted Hackman, Jason and Leslie Bratton, Holly and Tara (Romines), Mandy and Justin (Romines) and Frank and Tyler Romines.
     Richard grew up and attended high school in Fulton, MO; playing on the golf team with his brother, David, the Bratton boys were the stars of the Fulton High School Golf Team.  Soon after graduation in 1964, Richard was drafted into the United States Army where he served as an 11C, Indirect Fire Infantryman.  Following two years to the day of service, he was honorably discharged from the Army and returned back to Missouri.  It wasn’t long until he reunited with a young woman, Gayla Kay Romines that he met on the campus of William Woods College before leaving for the Army; on December 29, 1968, the couple were married and began a loving relationship that would last 50 plus years.  With Gayla also serving in the Army, her first assignment took the couple to San Antonio, TX, where Richard used his hard earned G.I. Bill to attend the University of Texas in San Marcus and discovered sail boat racing, participating and winning many regattas.  The couple spent a few years in Texas and Richard always talked fondly this time.
     After moving around in Kansas and Missouri, Richard and his family settled in Gayla’s childhood home town of Houston, MO.  Richard was a vibrant businessman that thrived as an entrepreneur; he operated several successful businesses to include his privately owned SEARS franchise that took him part time to Illinois, Infinite Entertainment here in Houston, managing a second location of Romines Motor Company in Cabool, MO and also developing Houston Plaza on the North side of town. 
     His racing didn’t stop with sail boats.  After being introduced to road course racing by his son in 2012, Richard started racing vintage BMW sports cars with the National Auto Sport Association (NASA).  He loved to tell stories about winning races.  His favorite story centered around surprising his competitors with a first place finish in the Australian Pursuit race while being heavily considered the underdog at the Memphis International Raceway.  Always willing to lend a hand at the track, Richard became heavily involved with the racing community and served as the Chief of Tech for the MidSouth NASA Region. 
     Of his many accomplishments, Richard was most proud of his Army service from 1966 to 1968.  After his Basic Combat Training, Richard deployed to Viet Nam and was assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division; fighting alongside his brothers in arms in several major battles to include the Battle of Pagoda.  Richard was a true patriot, earning the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Purple Heart, two awards.  After being twice wounded in direct combat but surviving, it’s ironic that events in Viet Nam are what later ended Richard’s life.  Agent Orange, a herbicide sprayed over the jungles of Viet Nam and thought to be safe at the time, proved to be cancer causing and directly attributed to the Liposarcoma that took Richard’s life. 
     Richard believed in community involvement and support.  He helped everyone that asked for it and some that he believed needed it.  He was a member of the Lions Club, Military Order of the Purple Heart - Chapter 140, American Legion, life time member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the Boy Scouts of America, and 28 years as an adult member of the Girl Scouts.  An active member of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, Richard supported the county fair every year.  You would often see him passionately waiving well deserved black flags at overly excited demolition derby drivers or flipping burgers. 
     He loved people and never met a stranger.  The highlight of his week for the last two years, Richard spent every day with Joseph, Michael Collin’s two year old boy who affectionately called him Papa Richard.  He loved the Lord with all of his heart, was a member of the Houston United Methodist Church and was looking forward to seeing Jesus Christ, his dog Po, his father and his mother-in-law.  A husband, father, brother, grandfather, beloved uncle, friend, businessman, Soldier, and racer, he was an honest, hard working, wonderful man that will be missed by all and in our hearts forever.
     Memorials are suggested to the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 140, PO Box 4426, Ft Wood, MO or Sarcoma Fund, C/O The University of Kansas Health System, 2330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 305, Westwood, KS 66205. Online condolences may be expressed at www.evansfh.com.
     A Celebration of Life with full Military Honors was held at the Houston United Methodist Church with Rev Michael Collins, Jay Frost and Donald Bratton officiating. Services and cremation were under the direction of Evans Funeral Home. Honorary Pallbearers were: Mike Taylor, Jerry Snyder, JJ Romines, Tyler Romines, Brecken Adey, and Rhyen Romines.

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