Cover photo for Ann M. Bratcher's Obituary
Ann M. Bratcher Profile Photo
1933 Ann 2012

Ann M. Bratcher

September 2, 1933 — June 5, 2012

** Video Tribute can be view by clicking weblink above ** Ann Margaret Bratcher, 78, Belle Fourche, passed away peacefully, Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at her home surrounded by family. Ann was born September 2, 1933, in Redlands, CA to Leonard and Harriet Hentges. She was raised in Southern California, where she spent many hours on the beach, developing her life-long love of swimming. She later attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, graduating with a teaching degree in Home Economics. During her junior year, her friends talked her into a blind date with a group of guys going through Air Force pilot training at Marana Air Force Base in Tucson AZ. She went on the condition that she got to “have the tall good looking one”. By the time she graduated, the blind date turned in to a love match that would last for the next 57 years. On September 3, 1955, she married Wayne Bratcher in Big Springs, TX. For the next 30 years, the two of them moved around to wherever the US Air Force sent them, raising a family of four. In 1966, the Air Force sent them to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota where they would stay until Wayne retired in December of 1982. As the wife of a career service member, Ann was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary and a longtime member of the American Legion Auxiliary. They lived on base and in Rapid Valley until 1995, when they moved to their ranch in Belle Fourche. Ann had a life-long love of the water and spent many years teaching swimming lessons through the Red Cross. She taught Water Safety Instructor classes, along with helping many people overcome their fear of water. She was the one that people came to when no one else could teach them to swim or to even get in the water. She spent many years as a lifeguard at the Ellsworth Fitness Center and the Belle Fourche Community Center. She touched many, many lives through her love of swimming. Ann and Wayne bought their first horses when the base stables at Ellsworth went private, starting a love of horses that never stopped. She was very active in the Nomads 4-H club at Ellsworth and helped a lot of kids throughout the years with their horse projects. Ann rode in playdays and participated in many camping trips and trail rides, especially on the 4th of July and Labor Day holidays. She helped out with 4-H horse shows and quarter horse shows over the years in the Rapid City area and always had stories to tell about all of the kids whose lives she touched. Ann will be remembered by friends and family as a person who never met a stranger and would talk with anyone, anywhere and could always make you feel relaxed and a part of whatever was going on. Ann is survived by her husband Wayne of Belle Fourche, sons, Jim (Kathy) Bratcher of Tulsa, OK, Bob (Jennifer) Bratcher of Lead, SD and daughters, Nancy (Dale) Clark of San Antonio, TX and Betsy (Forrest) Chapman of Pierre, SD; grandkids - Summer, Justice, Jacque, Gavin, Ben, Emma, Aaron, Christina, Austin, Jody; great-grandkids - Kylee, Daymion, Devin and her sister Nancy Throop of Pasadena, CA. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Lanphier “Lanny” Hentges, grandson, Dakota Bratcher and infant daughters Ann and Mary. Visitation with the family present will be held Sunday, June 10th from 4 to 6 pm at Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche. A wake service will be held at 6 pm at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am, Monday June 11th, 2012 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Belle Fourche. Interment will be held at 1:30 pm at Black Hills National Cemetery. Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 A.M. – Monday – June 11th, 2012 St. Paul’s Catholic Church Belle Fourche, South Dakota Celebrant Father Tim Hoag Special Music Provided by the Sowers Family, and Deb Leverington"Wind Beneath My Wings", “Amazing Grace”, “Bread of Life”, “Jesus, Remember Me”, “Old Hundreth”, “In Paradisum”, “May the Choirs of Angels”, “Old Rugged Cross” Casketbearers Belle Fourche Veterans Honor Guard Interment 1:30 P.M. – Monday – June 11th, 2012 Black Hills National Cemetery Belle Fourche, South Dakota
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