Josephine "Dodie" Bracken
August 24, 1921 – November 22, 2019
Josephine “Dodie” Bracken, an artist, teacher, wife, mother, community leader and friend to many, died Friday November 22. She was 98 and lived in Montebello, NY.
A long-time resident first of Westchester and then Rockland, Dodie was a prolific and accomplished artist. A graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and Columbia University Teachers College where she earned a Master’s in Education, she used her love of art as a teacher in the Irvington, NY, and White Plains Public Schools.
After retiring, she spent the next 30 years giving private art lessons to children and later to adults. In Montebello, she completed her career teaching painting classes for older adults that culminated in an annual exhibit of their work at Village Hall. She gave her last art class less than two years ago.
Dodie was born August 24, 1921, in New York City to Henry and Rowena (Schiele) Pfaff. She grew up in the Bronx and moved to Westchester when she married Edmund Seegmuller who died several years later. She later enjoyed a 59-year marriage to Edward F. Bracken of Yonkers. The couple built a house and lived in Eastchester for many years. During that time Dodie was elected and served as a councilwoman on the Town Board.
While in Eastchester, the couple’s two daughters, Elizabeth and Kathryn, were born and raised. In 1970, the family moved to Rockland. In Suffern (now Montebello) they built the home she lived in for the next 45 years. Edward died in 2009.
Dodie was very active in her community. She and her husband were leaders in founding the Village of Montebello. They were founders of the Montebello Seniors Club, and she was an active member and past–president of the Suffern Women’s Club and a long-time member of the Suffern Garden and Book Clubs. She was chairperson of the Montebello Historic Society.
A natural leader with an outgoing nature, Dodie enjoyed mentoring young aspiring artists. In addition to art, she enjoyed traveling with her family, hosting and going to parties -- and good conversation. She had a distinctive eye for fashion.
Dodie is survived by her loving daughters, Elizabeth (Geoffrey) Bracken –Thompson of Croton-on-Hudson, NY, and Kathryn (Andrew) Cupak of Montebello; her beloved sister, Connie Cerullo and her husband John of Suffern; two grandsons, Daniel Sabo (Esther Barlow) of Los Angeles and Timothy Sabo of Santa Monica, CA; two great grandchildren Cordelia and Phoebe; and two nephews, Peter Benvenuto of Oakland, NJ, and Paul Benvenuto (Mimi) of Hillburn, NY, and their families.
Dodie’s family wishes to express their sincere thanks and appreciation to Andrea, who faithfully cared for Dodie as her mobility declined, and to the doctors, nurses and staff of Villa Marie Claire, who cared for her in final days.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a contribution be made to Arts Westchester or the Hudson River Museum.
- Visitation Monday, December 2, 2019
- Funeral Mass Tuesday, December 3, 2019
- Interment of Ashes Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Josephine "Dodie" Bracken
November 24, 2019
Dear Liz and Kathy,
"Nobody dies as long as people love and remember" as a wise person said a long time ago. You will always have great, fun and happy memories of your mom, so all the wonderful things about her will always be a part of you.
When I first met Dodie, I thought she was the most elegant and creative mom of any of my friends. I remember seeing her beautiful art at her house. I remember how she went on adventures with you and Aunt Connie. I remember how she kept on moving (and driving!) after your dad went to heaven. And everyone who knows you all remember how much she loved you and her entire family.
May you find some consolation in remembering and celebrating her wonderful long life and so many happy times.
November 22, 2019
Liz and Kathy, what a beautiful, stylish and talented lady your mom Dodie was. I loved her artwork--any of her paintings that I saw were so well-done. Over the years, I enjoyed talking to her--she was fun, vibrant and youthful, even with the passage of time. One of my fun memories from years back was meeting up with her, and Aunt Connie, who ventured out, taking a bus to NYC in a snowstorm to meet us at a Broadway show! This is something to strive for for the rest of us! One of my more recent memories was going and giving a travelogue presentation (with Liz) to her group at the library--over the years, this was one of several, and I loved how she commanded attention and called the room to order. I know she loved her family so much and was so proud of both of you girls, and that you'll miss her terribly, but we should all be blessed with such a long and rich life. I'll miss Mrs. B!! xo
and I'm posting a lovely picture I came across of her down in Florida (think this is at Mannesota Key house)