Prospect remembers longtime volunteer

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Inez Bramhall of Prospect displays a portion of her business card collection in 2007. Bramhall, a longtime, well-known volunteer in Prospect, died Sept. 16 at the age of 94. RA ARCHIVE

PROSPECT — Family, friends and town officials remembered a longtime town volunteer as a kind and committed woman who always gave to others.

Inez Bramhall, who served for more than seven decades in the Prospect Grange, died Sept. 16 at Paradigm Healthcare Center of Prospect. She was 94.

Bramhall’s volunteerism spread to many facets of the community, including the Grange, the Prospect Congregational Church and organizations within the church and the Prospect Senior Center. Bramhall, who also served 10 to 15 years on the town’s Commission on Aging, even volunteered at Paradigm before she came to stay there this spring, Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

“It just isn’t going to be the same,” he said.

Everybody knew her from the tag sales she held every spring and fall in front of her house, Chatfield said. Her home is next to the Dairy Bar and Restaurant, where she often ate, he said.

About 100 people attended her funeral service Sept. 19 at the Prospect Congregational Church, Rev. Phyllis Norman said. Several hundred paid their respects to family the day before at the Buckmiller Brothers Funeral Home.

“She’s a very special person,” said Kathy Brown, great-niece and a goddaughter of Bramhall.

Bramhall and her late husband, James, didn’t have any children of their own, Brown said. But Bramhall watched after Brown’s mother, Lois Barber, Brown, and Brown’s son, Robert Harvey III, when they were young, she said.

“She was just there for us,” Brown said.

Bramhall, a member of the Prospect Congregational Church for 57 years, served as its assistant financial secretary for decades before she became its financial secretary about eight years ago, Norman said. She performed those duties until she realized she couldn’t do it anymore, perhaps the beginning of summer, she said.

“She just lived out commitments,” Norman said. “She had a very deep faith.”

Norman said Bramhall’s life was about helping others. For her 85th birthday, held in the fellowship hall, she didn’t want gifts, Norman said. Instead, Bramhall asked for donations to the Prospect Food and Fuel banks.

At the senior center, Lorraine Roy, 83 of Prospect, said Bramhall was a sweetheart who was thoughtful and involved with everybody.
“She was a fixture here,” Roy said. “You just didn’t think of the senior center as the senior center without Inez.”

Senior Center Director Lucy Smegielski said she will remember Bramhall’s kindness and willingness to always help out the center, including helping to get a second stove. The local grange contributed money for one; Bramhall covered the rest, Smegielski said.

A past recipient of Granger of the Year, Bramhall joined the local grange in 1935, serving in just about every office, said Jean Meehan, the grange’s secretary. Most notably, she served as treasurer from 1979 to 1995 and as president from 1995 to 2005.

“Inez was always one of those who liked to keep busy, and she was a very giving person,” Meehan said.