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Elaine Braden

A Life Well Lived
April 10, 1921 - May 18, 2022
Lillian Elaine (Collins) Braden, age 101, of Carmel, Indiana, entered into eternal rest on May 18, 2022. Elaine was born in Baltimore, Maryland on April 10, 1921, and she grew up there, attending Western and Catonsville High Schools, graduating in June, 1941. In high school she played field hockey and basketball. During this time she was also employed by several businesses as a secretary. Later in life she would continue her secretarial employment including serving at the US Army Finance Center in Indianapolis, and the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

In October 1941, with World War II in progress, Elaine and a co-worker were encouraged by their boss to attend a USO dance at a local hotel. It was here she met a handsome Bill Braden, a most forward young service man from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, who kept winking at her as she danced back and forth with some of the other men. Bill had been drafted into the US Army, entering the service as an enlisted man, but was selected for and graduated from Officer Candidate School. (The standards for completing OCS were high, and many did not graduate. But Bill did.) The relationship began, and they were married at Summerfield Methodist Church on June 5, 1943. Bill eventually was shipped to Europe, and served as an Ordnance Officer. Shortly after Bill departed Elaine discovered she was pregnant and months later had a son, Jay. Bill returned safely from the war and resumed life as Comptroller for Western Maryland Dairy. They were soon blessed with a beautiful daughter, Ellen.

Elaine and family followed Bill – who was recalled to active duty for the Korean War and rebranched into the Finance Corps - in his military assignments that included Fort Meade, Maryland; three years in Tokyo, Japan; El Paso, Texas; and seven years at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. Following Bill's retirement from the military they moved to Fairwinds on the Severn, a waterfront community in Maryland, just a short distance from the US Naval Academy. They traveled regularly; to visit Jay, a soldier in Europe, and to journey with friends to places across the US and overseas. For about a seven year period they wintered in Melbourne, Florida. They also vacationed many summers in Ocean City, Maryland.

Elaine spoiled numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was a voracious reader, a regular at the Carmel Library who would often check out 6-8 mystery books at a time. She loved gardening and tending to her plants. Earlier in her life she took up golf and enjoyed playing the game alongside her husband.

When Bill passed away in 2003, she ultimately moved into Rosewalk, an Independent Living Facility not far from Ellen and her family. There she made many, many friends. A few years ago, after some falls, she moved to Green House Cottages, an Assisted Living Facility, where she was one of the "Elders" and was very much liked by the staff.

Elaine was preceded in death by her mother Lillian, her stepfather Mike, her half-sister Virginia and her half-brother Rip, and her daughter-in-law Bonnie. Elaine is survived by son Jay and wife Joyce of Tampa, Florida; daughter Ellen Mitchell and husband Tom of Carmel; eight grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

Elaine's arrangements have been entrusted to the team at ARN Funeral and Cremations Services, Zionsville, Indiana. Friends and relatives may leave a memory, a message of condolences, or sign the guest book at www.arnmortuary.com.

A Celebration of Life was held at Green House Cottages on June 6, 2022. It was a very nice affair with many shared memories.

Elaine's remains were cremated and joined those of her husband at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery on September 27, 2022. Following the interment, neighbors from Fairwinds on the Severn and relatives joined daughter Ellen and grandson Robert at a nearby restaurant to share memories.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor the life of Lillian Elaine Braden may do so by making a donation in her name to the Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation. Donation information may be found at www.carmelclaylibrary.org.

Remembering Nanny

Click on any picture to enlarge it

It was sometime around February 1993 that Bonnie and Jay were visiting Bill and Elaine up in Severna Park, and Bonnie mentioned to Mom that the Bill and Elaine Braden 50th Wedding Anniversary would be coming up in June. "Oh, no," said Elaine, "We would not be interested in such a celebration." Bonnie said, "Okay," and proceeded to secretly plan the celebration by inviting guests, arranging for music, renting a limousine, and ordering food and beverages. On the day of the celebration Bill and Elaine were certainly surprised, and a good time was had by all.

In the summer of 2004, Karen and Cathy travel to Almont, Colorado, to Harmel’s Ranch Resort located in the Colorado Rockies. They had invited Nanny, but Nanny had declined. However, once they got there and called Nanny to tell her of the 20 deer right outside their window, Nanny expressed regret at passing on the invitation. So Karen, with some extraordinary help from AAA and an airline, got her on a plane that day and she joined them for their 11 day adventure that included white water rafting, fly fishing, a hay ride, country barbecues, and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

In August 2014 Nanny and Jay enjoyed a four night day cruise out of Port Canaveral to Nassau and back on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas. They followed this up with a couple of days enjoying Orlando.

In March of 2016, in celebration of Nanny's upcoming 95th birthday, Ellen and Jay joined her for a cross-Canada train trip from Vancouver to Toronto. This was an 11 day adventure that included sightseeing time in Vancouver, Jasper, and Toronto. The trip also included a tour to a stay at the Fairmont Hotel on Lake Louis and sightseeing at Niagara Falls. We traveled using Canada's national passenger service called VIA Rail.

In July 2016 Nanny joined Jay, Steve, Sandra, Savannah, Seth, Sydney, Robert, Natalie, Benjamin, Everett, and Charlie for a cruise to Tampa, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel aboard the Carnival Paradise.

In March of 2017 Ellen and Jay took Nanny on a one-week Riverboat cruise of the lower Mississippi River, going from New Orleans to Vicksburg and back. Over that week they stopped in a port or anchorage every day and had the opportunity to take special tours that helped them learn about historical sites along the river. The trip was made even more interesting by the "Riverorian" onboard who provided information on the Mississippi to include navigation rules and the nature of traffic along this remarkable waterway.

Elaine Braden's 100th birthday was a big event! Only about one and every 6000 Americans achieve this chronological milestone. By this time on Elaine's life she was a renowned resident of Green House Cottages and very comfortable with the staff there, who liked her very much. Family and friends came in and the day was celebrated with a flag that have been flown over the Capitol, a letter from the Governor of Indiana, a proclamation from the Mayor of Carmel, and - later - a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States. It was a very nice celebration in all respects.

Elaine Braden's Celebration of Life was held June 6, 2022, at the building in the Green House Cottage where she had lived for a number of years. It was a simple ceremony held on the patio. The hospice chaplain was good enough to be part of the celebration and there were other hospice members present who had cared for Elaine. The staff of the Green House Cottage prepared the reception meal, and it was supplemented by desserts brought in by Jay and Ellen. Elaine was very well regarded at Green House Cottages; she was alert and gregarious, and like to tease the staff members. They loved having her there, and it was clear that she would be missed. Elaine will also be missed by her family and friends, who were sad about her passing, but glad that she had lived a good, long life.

Elaine's Life Memories, courtesy Enid Morome

Bill and Elaine in Severna Park

Bill and Elaine in River Hills

Celebration of Life for Elaine Braden

Elaine's Memories as Collected by Cousin Enid Morome

Memories and Messages of Condolence from Friends and Family