Howard Bratches passed away peacefully on May 19 in Rye, surrounded by his family. He was 83.
Born on June 1, 1929 in Hammond, Indiana, he was the son of Helen and Howard Bratches. Though the family relocated often while Howard and his brother Ron were young, he made friends easily due to his outgoing personality, athleticism and his knack for drawing. In high school, he played baseball, football, and basketball at White Plains High and served as president of his class.
After high school, Howard enrolled at Washington & Lee University in Virginia, where he played soccer, basketball, and baseball and produced cartoons for the campus magazine. He was also Student Body President, a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity and Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, and in charge of the school’s Honor Court.
While in school, he met Patricia Kelly at Mohawk Day Camp in White Plains, where he was a camp counselor and she was a dance teacher. It was love at first sight and the two were married in 1951. The couple would have celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary on June 16.
After graduating from Washington & Lee University Law School in 1953, Mr. Bratches joined Shell Oil as a personnel/labor relations attorney.
He, Pat, and their expanding family moved around the country for his job before settling in Rye in 1962, when he joined General Foods in White Plains as a human resources manager. After several years with General Foods, he joined executive recruiting firm Thorndike Deland Associates in New York City, where he served as partner and was responsible for setting up the firm’s international offices.
An active member of the Rye community, Mr. Bratches served as president of the Midland School PTO, and board member and president of Manursing Island Club. He was also very involved at Christ’s Church, serving on the vestry, as an usher, and as a Sunday school teacher. He was an avid tennis player and golfer and could often be found on the tennis or paddle courts at Manursing or the greens at Rye Golf. He was also a member of the Union League Club in New York City, where he played on the club’s tennis team.
Mr. Bratches also continued to develop his love of the arts, painting Rye landscapes on weekends and summer scenes on Block Island. He began to exhibit his work around town and quickly established a reputation as a prominent local artist. His work has been displayed at Washington and Lee University, the Union League Club of New York, Christ’s Church in Rye, the Rye Arts Center, Rye Free Reading Room, Manursing Island Club, and the White Plains Board of Education.
Over time, he shared his passion for life, sports, and the arts with his children and grandchildren, who affectionately called him Poppy. He coached Little League and served as an Indian Guide, taught everyone to draw and paint, and never missed a single game, dance recital, or play.
While he will be deeply missed by all who knew him, he will be remembered as a kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend with a wonderful sense of humor and a big heart.
In addition to his wife Pat, Mr. Bratches is survived by his five children: Daryl, Janice, Beth, Kurt, and Kyle, their spouses Bob, Barb, David, Beth, and Mark, and his 11 grandchildren: Kate, Meggie, Brendan, Billy, Taylor, Christy, Chelsea, Wills, Kevin, Charlie, and Johnny.
A memorial service will be held on his birthday, June 1, at Christ’s Church in Rye at 11 a.m.
Donations in his memory may be made to Christ’s Church for their outreach and education programs.
Ellen Croke Geraghty
Ellen Croke Geraghty of San Diego, a former longtime resident of Rye, passed away on May 21. She was 78.
Born in Goshen, New York, on August 28, 1934, she was the first of seven children of James Patrick Croke and Kathleen McBride. She attended high school at St. Walburga’s Academy of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in New York City and graduated from St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle. She attended Marymount College, and in 1957, graduated from Columbia University-Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science degree.
During her career, she worked as a Home Healthcare Coordinator at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, as a Westchester County Visiting Nurse, and in private duty nursing.
She married Phillips Robert Geraghty on December 28, 1957, at St. Augustine Church in Larchmont. They were married for 39 years. He passed away in 1997
The Geraghtys were longtime members of Westchester Country Club. Mrs. Geraghty was President of School of the Holy Child Mother’s Club and a parishioner of Church of the Resurrection.
Elle, as Mrs. Geraghty was affectionately known, will be remembered for her devotion to her family and friends. She was passionate about her Catholic faith. The things she loved best were spending time with her children and grandchildren, dancing at weddings, and singing with her sisters to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
Mrs. Geraghty is survived by her five children: Kathleen (Laverne) Hubert of Riviera, Texas and Washington, D.C.; Ellen (Joseph) Rubino of Mt. Pleasant, S.C.; Phillips Robert (Jennifer D’Ambrosio) Geraghty of Boulder, Colo.; Megan (Thomas) Whelan of Scarsdale; and James Patrick (Dr. Laurel Naversen) Geraghty of San Diego; her siblings, John J. Croke, James P. Croke, Kathleen Croke Feeney, Ann Croke Doorly, and Patricia Croke Gaine; 13 grandchildren (Mary Phillips, Kaitlyn, Joseph, Jack, William, Phillips, Sean, Patrick, Thomas, Robert, Michael, Eleanor, and James), and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Geraghty was predeceased by her sister, Margaret Croke McEneany, and her brother-in-law, David E. Feeney.
The family will receive friends at Graham Funeral Home on May 27, from 3 to 6 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Church of the Resurrection on May 28 at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Greenwood Union Cemetery.
Donations in her memory may be made to Scripps Mercy Hospital (scripps.org) in San Diego.
Charles Jordan Jr.
Charles C. Jordan Jr. passed away on May 15 at his home in Linden
Ponds in Hingham, Massachusetts, just one day shy of his 87th birthday.
Born on May 16, 1926 in New York City, he grew up in Scarsdale. A graduate of Williams College and an Army veteran, he spent his career at Citibank.
He and his wife Sandy raised their three daughters in Rye. After retiring, he moved to Orleans, Mass., where he was an active volunteer at Cape Cod Hospital, the Orleans Newcomers Association, and the Federated Church. In 2007, he moved to Linden Ponds, a senior living facility, to be closer to his family.
A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Mr. Jordan was also a train enthusiast who enjoyed the smells and sounds of the tracks. He served as treasurer for countless organizations throughout his life, and was a regular blood donor for many years.
A true gentleman who was generous and self-deprecating, he made a point of remembering people’s names and was known for his ready smile, encouraging words, and kindness.
He was predeceased by his wife, Brenda “Sandy” Jordan. Mr. Jordan is survived by his brother Robert Jordan and his wife Sue of Exeter,
N.H.; his daughters, Peg Merzbacher and her husband Tom of Norwell, Mass., Barbara Grant and her husband Bob of Boxford, Mass., and Nancy Nelson and her husband Jay of Newton, Mass.; and by his grandchildren, Hilary and Peter Merzbacher, Charlie, Rob, and Lindsay Grant, and Sally and Henry Nelson.
A memorial service will be held June 29 at 3 p.m. at the Federated
Church of Orleans, in East Orleans, Mass. Memorial gifts in Mr. Jordan’s name be made to the charity of one’s choice.
Berta Helena Benson Bixby
Berta Helena Benson Bixby of Topsfield, Massachusetts, died at her home in the company of her loving family on May 16. She was the wife of the late Frank E. Bixby, M.D.
Mrs. Bixby was born and raised in Rye, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nils B. Benson.
She loved playing tennis, walking, reading, and, most of all, spending time with her family and friends.
She also enjoyed travel. Her most memorable and heartwarming trip was to Sweden with her family. While there, she finally was able to meet her many relatives and visit the homes in which her parents were raised.
After she moved to Massachusetts, Mrs. Bixby became a volunteer at Children’s Hospital in Boston. The time spent visiting and doing projects with the children was enjoyable and rewarding in so many ways.
Mrs. Bixby was the much loved mother of four daughters: Judith of Topsfield, Barbara of New York, Nancy Linsley and her husband Keyes of Topsfield, and Pamela Coolidge and her husband Timothy of Ipswich. She was the cherished grandmother of Joshua Abrams, John and Peter Linsley, and Timmy Coolidge. She is also survived by her brother, Nils E. Benson and his wife Audrey of Darien; and several nieces and nephews.
Services will be private. Expressions of condolence may be sent to The Bixby Family, 56 Great Hill Drive, Topsfield, MA 01983.
Donations in her memory may be made to the First Church in Wenham, P.O. Box 487, Wenham, MA 01984.