John Merle Brantley

August 6, 1946September 23, 2019

John Merle Brantley was born August 6, 1946 in Cooper, Texas to parents; Carrel Houston (C.H.) Brantley and Ruth Inez (Bond) Brantley and entered eternal rest on September 23, 2019 at the age of 73, in Rowlett Texas.

After graduating Commerce High School, John enlisted in the United States Army in 1963, with honorable discharge in 1970, where he served three tours in Vietnam. John earned the rank of Sargent in Co. A 82nd Aviation Battalion, 82nd Abn Div, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), Fort Bragg, NC and received commendations including: National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device, Expert M-14 Rifle, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal 1st AWD, Battalion Commanders and Parachutist Badge.

One of these commendations was for exemplary conduct, determination, courage and deep sense of responsibility with complete disregard for his own life. John prevented casualties and loss of life for his battalion on February 20, 1966, while under intense enemy mortar attack.

August 21, 1967, John volunteered in a patrol with three others to apprehend two suspects outside the defense barrier, which resulted in small arms fire against 10 of the enemy, whereas after breaking contact and melting into the dense foliage, it is noted four detainees in the prone position as prisoners were apprehended.

John's huge heart was always open to helping others, especially children. In fact, after seeing the lack of food and clothing for the children of Vietnam, John's Baptist faith inspired him and with the help of his parents, Chaplain, The First Baptist Church of Commerce, along with the residents of Commerce and Greenville, Texas, his vision became a reality for the refugees of Vietnam. Christmas had arrived in January 1966. John felt like Santa while handing out over 1150 pounds of clothing and gifts, stating to the Chaplain 'It's been a lot different - giving instead of receiving and making somebody happy because of you - you know what I mean?' with tears in his eyes and feeling the power of selflessness, and how he changed the lives of the innocent.

He enjoyed feeding the ducks, being outdoors, photography, fishing, gardening and spending time with his family. John was an amazing man who will be missed tremendously by all who knew and loved him.

John is preceded in death by: his parents, brother Carrel Eugene Brantley, and nephews Charles Michael Brantley and Ricky Brantley.

He is survived by his: daughter Jacquelina Brantley of Minnesota, son Joshua Brantley and spouse Latisha of Arizona, brother David Lawrence Brantley and spouse Gay of Lewisville, Texas, brother Jack Benny Brantley and spouse Maxine of Kemp, Texas, brother Charles Ray Brantley and spouse Nancy of Cash, Texas, sister Theresa Joan Gray and spouse Larry of Paris, Texas, brother Gary Bond Brantley and spouse Sherry of Atlanta, Texas, grandsons Joshua and Dylan Fitzgibbons of Minnesota, granddaughters Alexandria and Marti-Ann Brantley, grandson Noah Brantley, numerous beloved nieces, nephews, other loving family members, extended family members and a host of friends.

Memorial services are October 8, 2019 at 2:00pm, located at Dallas-Ft Worth National Cemetery. Afterwards, all are welcome to gather at The Union restaurant with food and beverage being available for purchase.

Texas Ranger attire is encouraged for the services, as John very much loved watching the Rangers play.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund page under John's name is available on St. Jude's website.


  • Inurnment Tuesday, October 8, 2019


John Merle Brantley

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