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Joseph L Bratton

August 2, 1929 ~ November 30, 2021 (age 92)

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Joseph L Bratton, 92, passed away on November 30, 2021 at Indiana Square Personal Care Home, in Indiana Pennsylvania. He was the son of Grace Evelyn (Peterman) and Joseph Luther Bratton Sr., born August 2, 1929 in Altoona, PA. Joe lived a long, healthy, independent, and fulfilling life as a curious, intelligent, meticulous, compassionate, charming, kind, and loving man. Joe graduated from Altoona Area High School in 1947. He earned a B.A. and B.S. In Music and Social Studies at Moorhead State College, Moorhead, MN, and then went on to earn a M.S. in Music Education at North Dakota State University. Joe taught music at several schools in ND, MN, MD, and PA. In PA, he also served many years as president of the teachers’ union before retiring in 1993. As music director, Joe directed marching band, concert band, jazz band, and the chorus, while also teaching beginning instrument, and directing the orchestra pit. Joe loved teaching and his students. As a teacher, Joe was encouraging, patient, dedicated, and hard working. He leaves behind many music “kids” that he inspired and encouraged to become music teachers and music performers themselves. While teaching at Tyrone School District he presented and featured Penn State All-American football player Mike Reid in his first formal public concert as a piano soloist with the Tyrone H.S. Concert Band accompanying him in April of 1969. Mike Reid later played professional football with the Cincinnati Bengals but continued as a professional piano soloist after his football career ended eventually winning a Grammy Award. On weekends, Joe was in great demand as a musician and soloist in very popular dance bands, spending 25 years with the Tommy Phillips Orchestra playing jazz and big band music all over Western PA, and forming lifelong friendships. Over a fifty year span, Joe also entertained thousands of people all over the United States playing in touring bands and units, and performing with famous musicians, even performing as the lead alto saxophone in February 1964, with the Northwest Band Clinic Stage Band under the direction of Doc Severinsen, an American jazz trumpeter and band leader for Johnny Carson of the Tonight Show. During his time in the Air Force, he toured with the Air Force Jazz Show. He was a member of numerous professional organizations including but not limited to Music Educators National Conferences, National Band Association, American Choral Directors Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia National Music Fraternity, PA Music Educators Association, American Federation of Musicians, PA State Educators Association, PA State Education Retirement System, and the American Legion. In his spare time Joe liked to read, manage his beautiful gardens, write musical arrangements, travel, and visit with friends always offering a piece of chocolate from his candy dish. His dialogue in conversation included singing appropriate song lyrics. After retirement, for 20 years, Joe travelled extensively all over the world, including all seven continents and over ninety countries. Joe loved his family with all his heart and enjoyed spending time with all of them. He is survived by his loving daughters, Christina Bratton-Finkbeiner, Altoona PA and Cinny Bratton and fiancé Virgil Wenturine, Indiana PA; loving grandchildren James Joseph “Jay” McGill (Casie Laughlin) and Shannon Lee McGill (David Miller) all of Pittsburgh, PA; Jocelyn Bratton Krise (Justin), Ormond Beach, FL, and Devon Bratton, Pittsburgh, PA; and great-grandchild Jackson Krise, Ormond Beach, FL. Joe is survived by his sisters Marilyn Gottshall, Orbisonia, PA, Clara Ferguson, Altoona, PA, and brother Bill Bratton (Juls), New Enterprise, PA, step-sister Nancie Casserly Alexander, Portland, TX; sister-in-law Arla Barroner Bratton, Hollidaysburg, PA; numerous nieces and nephews, and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers-in-law Paul “Luke” Gottshall (Marilyn) and Paul “Nute” Ferguson (Clara); son-in-law James A. McGill (Christina); a niece Lori Gottshall Aungst; step-mother Margaret “Pat” Counsman Bratton; and step-nephews Bobby and Brian Cassarly. Joe requested cremation with no visitation or services, wanting to leave this world on a happy “note” with everyone remembering him as he was when alive singing his way through his life. The family would like to thank Dr. Robert Snyder, Penn Hospice, and especially Gretchen and all the staff at Indiana Square Personal Care Home for the exceptional loving care they gave to their Kokomo Joe for the last nine months of his life. Donations in Joe’s name to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation would be appreciated. They donate high quality musical instruments to deserving, under-funded music programs K-12 nationwide. www.mhopus or 818-762-4328

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