Dr. William E. Brattain - 77
4/7/1938 - 12/25/2015
Dr. William “Bill” Edwin Brattain, 77, of Colchester, IL passed away on Friday, December 25 at Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. Bill was born on April 7, 1938 in Noblesville, IN to John and Bernice “Monti” (Montgomery) Brattain. He was raised in Sharpsville, IN and graduated from Sharpsville High School in 1956. Bill attended Indiana University from where he received his B.S., M.S., Re.Dir., and Re.D. degrees. He remained a loyal IU alum and avid Hoosier basketball fan throughout his life.
On April 3, 1960, Bill married his college sweetheart, Helen Jacqueline “Jacquie” Hancock in Bloomington, IN. Bill is survived by his beloved wife; three daughters - Cindy (Rick) Ramsey of Augusta, IL, Nancy (Don) Rogers of Terre Haute, IN, and Jenny Brattain of Macomb, IL; and eight grandchildren - Stacey (Nathan) Fry, Doug Ramsey, Rickey Ramsey, Allison Ramsey, Matthew Ramsey, Madeline Ramsey, Laura Rogers, and Jonathan Rogers; five great-grandchildren; and cousins George (Susan) Brattain and Nancy (Don) Garrison. He was preceded in death by his parents, parents-in-law Fred and Ruby Hancock, and cousin Halford Brattain. Bill was a loving and dedicated father and grandfather. He very much enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s events, particularly basketball and volleyball games, at Southeastern High School in Augusta and frequently visited Terre Haute to support his grandchildren there. For the past several years, Bill and Jacquie enjoyed spending the winter in Bradenton, FL. Bill loved Florida and especially enjoyed spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren on Anna Maria Island.
In 1960, William was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Fort Knox. Following his tour at Fort Knox, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1971.
Dr. Brattain, or “Dr. B” as his students affectionately called him, spent his career in higher education and was deeply committed to the young people that he served over the decades. He began his career as Union Director at Manchester College in North Manchester, IN and then returned to his alma mater, Indiana University, to serve as Associate Director of the Indiana Memorial Union. He felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at IU during the exciting and tumultuous late 1960s. In 1971, Dr. B. accepted the position of Director of the Student Union at Western Illinois University. Over the next 27 years, he served in a variety of roles in the Division of Student Affairs. He retired as Associate Vice President for Student Services Emeritus and Professor of Recreation, Tourism, and Park Administration Emeritus. Dr. Brattain was widely recognized as a national leader in the profession of college union and student activities administration. He believed that the experiences students had outside of the classroom shaped their lives and careers in profound ways and shared this passion with his students, particularly the many graduate students who have pursued careers in Higher Education. Dr. B. served on the boards of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. He served as Chair of the NACA Board. He was awarded the Founders Award from NACA and the Butts-Whiting Award from ACUI, the highest
honors that each of these organizations can bestow.
Dr. B’s other great professional passion was the performing arts. He was devoted to developing performing arts and concert programming through the University Union Board and Bureau of Cultural Affairs. His work with the performing arts was noteworthy for the extent to which students were involved guiding the programming and the ability of WIU to attract high quality programs to a small, rural community that utilized a gymnasium for its venue. The range of programs that WIU presented during Bill’s tenure were extraordinarily diverse and included such noteworthy productions as Cats, Amadeus, The Wiz, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, B.B. King, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, the Beach Boys, Natalie Cole, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Chuck Berry, Red Skelton, Bob Hope, and his personal hero and favorite, Johnny Cash. In addition to presenting the performing arts, Dr. Brattain was a guiding force behind the establishment of the WIU Performing Arts Society and the Youth Performing Arts Series. He was appointed by the Governor to the Illinois Arts Council in 2004 and served until the time of his death. In 2011, Dr. Brattain authored and published Entertainment in the Heartland: Some Humorous Memories and Random Thoughts, a memoir of his experience with the arts and concerts throughout his career.
Dr. B. loved WIU and received much love in return. Bill and Jacquie established the Brattain Transfer Scholarship through the WIU Foundation. Bill was named an Honorary Alumni in 2007. Upon his retirement, a Student Leadership Award and Community Arts Award were established in his honor and bear his name. In 2014, the Prairie Lounge in the University Union was renovated and renamed the William E. Brattain Lounge in his honor.
Bill was actively engaged in civic life. He served as Tri-Chair of the McDonough County United Way Campaign and Vice President and President of the McDonough County YMCA Board of Directors. He was elected Trustee of Carl Sandburg College and served as a trustee for 16 years and Board Chair on four occasions. Bill was an active member of Rotary International for over 50 years, the majority of those years with the Macomb noon club. He and wife Jacquie are both Paul Harris Fellows.
Bill was a man of great faith and lifelong member of the United Methodist Church. He was a current member of Wesley United Methodist Church and former member of the Blandinsville Methodist Church. For several years he served as a Lay Leader and Certified Lay Speaker. Methodists around the area, particularly at the Blandinsville Church, enjoyed his plain spoken, but meaningful, sermons.
In 1957, Bill was initiated as a member of Sigma Pi Fraternity. He joined his father, Uncle Bill, and cousin Hal as a member of the Beta chapter. Bill was initiated into the Masonic Lodge in 1960 in Sharpsville, IN and was a perpetual member of the LaHarpe Lodge.
Funeral services will be 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, December 30, 2014, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Macomb, with Rev. Tom Mehaffy. Burial will take place at Oakwood Cemetery in Macomb, with the Presentation of the Flag to the Family by the Macomb V.F.W. and Macomb American Legion, Masonic Services will be held at the grave. The family will meet with friends from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M. Tuesday at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Macomb. Friends may sign the register book at the Jones Mortuary in Colchester from 8:00 to 12 noon Tuesday then after 4:00 Tuesday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the William “Dr. B.” and Jacquie Brattain Transfer Scholarship with the Western Illinois University Foundation.
To leave condolences to the family online visit jonesmortuaryfh.com
4:00 to 7:00 P.M. Tuesday at Wesley United Methodist Church in Macomb
11:00 A.M. Wednesday at Wesley United Methodist Church