Ben Ed Brazzel
funeral director and former owner, Brazzel-Oakcrest Funeral Home, Hope, Arkansas, died April 27, 2023, at age 76. As a young man working as a paramedic in the aftermath of the Titan II Missile Silo explosion in Searcy, Arkansas, in 1965, Brazzel realized he was called to go to mortuary science school. He attended Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science and completed school in one year, with his employer agreeing to fund his education. Brazzel repaid the loan by working two years to pay it back with interest.
In 1978, Brazzel had the opportunity to come to Hope, Arkansas, to work for the Hendrix family and Oakcrest Funeral Home, where, after one year, he was given the opportunity to purchase the business. In 1993, the Brazzels acquired Cornish Funeral Home in Prescott, Arkansas. Brazzel and his son worked side by side as funeral professionals and embalmers for more than 30 years.
Brazzel took an interest in horses and began training them as a “horse whisperer” and served as parade grand marshal for Hope Livestock District Fair and Rodeo Parade for 28 years. He achieved 32nd degree Mason and served as past Worshipful Master of Whitfield Lodge 239.
Brazzel is survived by wife Janie; son Ben, a funeral director with Brazzel-Oakcrest; one granddaughter; and sisters Kathy and Leslie.