Leon E Braxton
May 1, 1917 – March 22, 2019
Leon E. (Bill) Braxton, 101, retired teacher, U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and command pilot, died March 22, 2019 at Davis Islands, Tampa FL. He was born near Hope Mills, NC and attended public schools in Rocky Mount, NC. After graduation from high school in 1934, he entered the U.S. Army in April, 1935. He held every enlisted and officer rank including warrant officer from private to lieutenant colonel. He served in Panama, Austria, Germany, Japan, and Korea. He attended numerous service schools including West Point Prep School, Coast Artillery School (honor graduate), Air Corps Officer Candidate School, flying school, European Air Transport Service’s Flight Captain’s School (honor graduate), and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (honor graduate). He flew combat missions in Indo China in 1954 while aiding the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1959, Mr. Braxton attended the University of Miami, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in German in 1962. He received a fellowship under the National Defense Education Act to attend Kent State University, where he received a master’s degree in German in 1964. Subsequently, he spent a year at the University of Freiburg in Germany and did doctoral work at the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida. He also attended George Washington University, Rollins College, and Brevard Community College. He received numerous academic awards while a student at the University of Miami.
Mr. Braxton’s first teaching position was at Hialeah High School in Miami where he taught German and English. From Hialeah he served several years as a professor of German at Stetson University. In 1971, he moved to Satellite High School where he taught German and was selected as Teacher of the Year for the south area of Brevard County. He built up the German student program at Satellite High to such an extent that was recognized as one of the largest and best German programs in the United States. His proudest achievement at Satellite was in establishing the Fulbright Student Exchange program for German students. This program was later extended to the entire state of Florida. Each year high schools throughout the state hosted students from Germany, and in the summer he took students to Germany to live with German families and attend German schools. For this program and his outstanding teaching record, Mr. Braxton was the first German teacher in the United States to receive a newly created award from the American Association of Teachers of German and the Goethe Institute of Germany. He was also recognized by the mayor of Cologne, Germany, and German education officials for his record and service in the teaching of German. He was recognized by Governor Graham for establishing the German student exchange program. He was the first high school teacher in the State of Florida to serve as President of the Florida Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German, a position normally reserved for university professors. After retiring from Satellite High in 1979, he taught German, French, and Spanish at Brevard Community College. Mr. Braxton co-authored with his friend, Art Wagner, four non-fiction books while in his 90s based on his life experiences, people he met, and events he witnessed while serving in the military. He continued to study foreign languages late into his life, teaching himself to read and speak Italian and traveling to Italy to practice. He loved to travel and led his family on many adventures. To the very end, he continued to charm new friends, enjoyed socializing and going for a drive or, after he could no longer drive, a ride around Davis Islands on his electric scooter. Just a few days before he passed, among his last words were, “What if I just go buy a car?”
Mr. Braxton was a member of Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in Satellite Beach, where he served on the vestry. He was a member of the Caterpillar Club, the American Association of Teachers of German, the Order of Daedalians, and the Retired Officers Association. He is survived by four children, Thomas Braxton of Wheatland, WY, Douglas Braxton of Cary, NC, Patty Braxton of Tampa, FL, and Susan Braxton of Urbana IL; and seven grandchildren, Thomas Braxton of Tampa FL, David Braxton of Jacksonville, FL, Jessica Bailey of Richlands, NC, Marc Schulz of Orlando, FL, Braxton Schulz of Tampa, FL, Bailey Schulz of Auburn, AL, and Claire Dietrich of Carbondale, IL; and three great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Margarete (Dalzell) Braxton (known by all as Peggy), his second wife Nellie (Berger) Braxton; his his daughter, Barbara Craft, and granddaughter, Jennifer Craft. A celebration of life is planned for late April in Tampa, FL.
The family has designated the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for memorial contributions.
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Leon E Braxton
April 14, 2019
Dear Patty, so sorry to hear of your Father’s passing.... what an amazing life he lead! Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers!
Much love ,
March 27, 2019
My sincerest condolences to you all. May you all find comfort and strength in the promise found in Acts 24:15.
March 26, 2019
Such an amazing man. Satellite High School had a gem for a teacher with him. My prayers and thoughts are with the family. He was loved by many!
March 23, 2019
May God bring comfort to your family at this time of loss. Keep the great memories of this great man who influenced so many students over the years. I can still remember so many of the life lessons he taught me.