James D. Bracken

James D. Bracken


James Dent Bracken, age 97, formerly of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., passed away peacefully on January 3, 2020 in Leesburg, Va.

He was born in Johnstown, Pa. on March 12, 1922 to Edward Denton Bracken and Susan Delancey Bracken.

Jim grew up in Armagh, Pa. with his five siblings; Edward J. Bracken, George D. Bracken, Charles O. Bracken, Evelyn B. Hutton and William F. Bracken.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 22, 1942 and served in the Marine Maintenance Detachment at Camp Gordon, Johnston, Fla. He was honorably discharged on February 8, 1946. Before and after his service in the army, he was employed as an Optician.

In September 1947, he married Katherine Schmidt, his sweetheart. Together they raised four children.

He is survived by Cheryl B. Grubb and Ernest Grubb of West Chicago, Ill.; Jeffrey J. Bracken and Joyce T. Bracken of Tarentum, Pa. (formerly of Berkeley Springs); David S. Bracken and Lesley H. Bracken of Molalla, Ore.; and Jennifer B. Thompson and Stephen Thompson of Herndon, Va. Grandchildren of Jim and Katie include; Timothy Grubb, Jonathan Grubb, Jessica Franceschina, Stephanie Beymer, Laura Bracken, Rachel Thompson and Chloe Thompson. Great grandchildren include Ethen Beymer, Savannah Beymer, Marcus Franceschina and Norah Franceschina.

Jim owned Bracken Opticians in Annandale, Va. where he grew a very successful optical business for 40 years.

In addition to his business Jim was an avid woodworker who loved to design and build furniture for his family and friends.

He also loved to travel all over the United States with his wife Katie in their travel trailer. After Katie’s death in 1998, he briefly owned a home and lived part time in Mount Dora, Fla.

Jim loved to interact with people and easily made friends with strangers.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Friday, January 10, 2020 at Helsley-Johnson Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 95 Union Street, Berkeley Springs, WV followed by a graveside ceremony at Union Chapel Cemetery where military honors will be provided by the Tri-State Honor Guard.

The family will receive friends from 3-5 & 6-8 p.m. on Thursday at the funeral home.

Online condolences may be expressed at

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