Mixon "Mickie" Lee Leach Brabham
October 31, 1923 – March 16, 2020
Mickie Brabham, R.N. (1946) and with a certificate in Public Health, would have volunteered her service if this current national health emergency had occurred 20 years ago and if it had happened 5 years ago she would have followed the story in the newspaper and on the television news. But in the last year, after a stroke in April 2019 and another in January 2020, she had physically declined and was not able to answer the call to service as she had done over 70 years ago during WW II.
At 96 years of age, Mixon (Mickie) Lee Leach Brabham, died March 16, 2020, as she wanted, with her children by her side.
She was predeceased by her husband, Paul C., and her firstborn infant son, Paul, Jr., and her sisters and their husbands, Gloria Hope and Creighton Owen, and Martha Ann and Ralph Sanderson.
She is survived by her children, Monica, Charles, (Martha) Anne, and Robert and his wife, Carol, and grandson, Ian; her brother and sister-law, Claude "Buddy" and Laura Leach; and sisters and brothers-in-law: Frances and Rob Watson, and Carolyn and Harry Huntoon. She had numerous nieces and nephews, and too many friends to name. Mickie was born October 31, 1923, in Slagle, LA, first of six children born to Claude and Lucille (Goodwin) Leach. Growing up during the depression left its mark on her- she saved pieces of aluminum foil, learned to make do as needed, and was always busy- raising kids, volunteering, or working as a nurse, which she returned to after her children were in school. Mickie was a doer, she was brought up to help, and her chosen profession of nursing reinforced that tendency in her.
Growing up she helped around the house and earned extra money at her family's cafe- using it to purchase a red evening dress while her sister, Gloria, used her funds to buy a saxophone to play in the high school band. She enjoyed listening to music and had limited musical ability- she played the cymbals in her high school band. Mickie had her children take piano and voice lessons and join the middle school band. Sadly, no real talent was exhibited by her children, but she hit the jackpot with her grandson, Ian! Who inherited a beautiful singing voice from his mother, Carol, and other musical’s abilities: guitar, keyboard and trumpet.
After graduating from Leesville High School in 1943, she joined the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps* (a war effort to increase the number of civilian nurses) and graduated from the Tri -State School of Nursing, Shreveport, LA, in 1946. During her training, surgeons requested her assistance with surgeries due to her quick reflexes and skill level. She planned to go overseas after graduating, but the war in Europe ended before she could join the Army Nurse Corps. Then her mother became sick, and she left school a month before graduation to be with her. Her mother, Lucille, died when she was 22, a loss she felt the rest of her life. At her first job as a Public Health Nurse for Vernon Parish, she saved lives by bringing health care to people’s home, a baby was named after her, and she educated and inoculated the public about health and disease.
Mickie made friends wherever she went, she always had a welcoming smile on her face, was happy to see you and wanted to hear your news and share her news. She had an active dating life, in Leesville, Shreveport, and New Orleans, LA, but when she saw a local boy in his uniform, she fell in love! Paul and Mickie were married on June 10, 1948. For his job, they moved around the Southwest, living in six states over a 12-year period finally settling in Dallas County in 1968. But, no matter how far she was from Leesville, LA, she went home to be with her brother and sisters and their families at every possible opportunity.
Mickie had a green thumb- she was able to grow a variety of flowers and plants, ones that were difficult to grow such as African Violets; and medicinal plants such as aloe vera. In the last home that they shared, Paul bought her rose bushes and when they bloomed, she would cut only a few blooms to place in small antique blue glass bottles on the kitchen counter or breakfast table. Her niece, Sally Ann, sent an annual Christmas gift each year of amaryllis. Her brother, Buddy and his wife, Laura, continued to send bouquets through the years, most recently poinsettias at Christmas.
Besides making tomato soup if you were sick, Mickie had some very special recipes that she would make. On Friday nights after 10 p.m., she would start a batch of yeast waffles with 6 cups of flour, 2 cups of milk, salt, and ½ cup of warm water to which she would add 3 packets of yeast. She would leave the mixture out on the counter to develop overnight and the next morning, she would add eggs and oil to the mixture, stir it, and turn on the waffle iron to get her kids out of bed!
At Christmas, she made a special fruit cake- one that her niece, Mae Ann Owen, loved the taste of so much that Mickie would bring one just for her to Leach’s Family Christmas each year. On the stovetop, she would melt marshmallows and butter then add graham cracker crumbs, candied fruit, and toasted chopped pecans, and spoon the mixture into loaf pans-no baking necessary!
She also, made peanut butter candy consisting of smooth peanut butter and milk cooked to a soft-ball candy stage, 235 to 245 degrees, which she determined by dropping a spoonful of the hot syrup into a one cup glass measuring cup with iced water. Then if it was at the right stage she would pour the mixture out on a large oval platter to cool.
Her last and best recipe that she would make were Ranger Cookies, oatmeal mixed with Post Toasties. When asked she would bring a large metal tin or two to the DCDP Tax Day and Labor Day Picnic and LHWR Chili Supper and 4th of July Picnic; and while other desserts were left on the dessert table, her cookies were all taken and eaten.
She was busy all her life, her last child was born when she was 38 in April 1962. The year that Paul retired from U.S. Corp of Engineers, she helped him recover from a quadruple by-pass operation. They then retired to Emerald Bay, a Lake club community by Lake Palestine, outside of Tyler, TX. While there, Paul perfected his golf game and made a hole-in-one and Mickie took up mahjong and started an annual blood drive. If you visited them, Paul would take you out into the back yard to see to the stars! After moving back to Dallas County, to a home near Richland Community College both joined the Emeritus Program. Mickie took tai-chi and Paul computer science and gym. Neither one stopped volunteering, being a part of the community, or traveling until Paul died in 2012.
Along with her husband Paul, Mickie was a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church, since 1971. Both especially enjoyed the 2x2 Sunday School Class, which she continued to attend weekly after his passing. Her faith gave her great comfort throughout her life. She was always busy- raising kids, attending church, traveling, or working as a nurse, which she returned to after her children were in school. One other activity was always present in Mickie’s life- volunteering in her community. A partial list of Mickie’s volunteer activities: League of Women Voters, Methodist Women, The Wilkerson Center, International Good Neighbors, VNA, Red Cross, NARFE, Lake Highlands/ White Rock Democrats, and Richardson/ North Dallas Democrats, which she hosted in her home until membership grew too large for the space. A small family ceremony was held Thursday, March 19, 2020. A memorial service to celebrate Mickie’s life will be scheduled at Highland Park United Church, at a later date. After which, she will be interred with her husband at the DFW National Cemetery. If you wish to make a donation in Micki’s honor, the family recommends North Texas Food Bank, Doctors without Borders, or Heifer International.
*Call to Action: The U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, 1943 to 1948, is the only World War II uniformed force not to be granted veteran’s status. Please write your Congressperson or Senator and ask for their support and action on the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition Act of 2019, S.997 and H.R. 2056. In the Senate it was referred to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and in the House it was referred to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel. The bill will bestow honorary veteran status on those women who served in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps during WW II.
- Services Times and Dates are Pending
Mixon "Mickie" Lee Leach Brabham
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March 25, 2020
BeBe was our treasure. She cared for everyone especially her family. We will miss her.
March 18, 2020
The sweetest big sister ever. She will be missed.