At Donna’s request, I am posting the sad news of her father’s passing. I know he will be greatly missed. My condolences to Donna and her siblings. It’s a good thing and a bad thing when the passing of a parent brings sorrow–one of life’s bittersweet gifts. We are thankful for the wonderful parent and saddened at their passing. In looking for a category for this message, I’ve decided to put it under “pass it forward”.
St. Anthony, finder of lost things, was Lionel’s Patron Saint.
Visitation on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 1908 Short Street, Kenner, LA. from 10:00 a.m until 11:00 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. Interment Providence Memorial Park Cemetery. You may sign the guest book on www.gertrudegeddeswillis.com and nola.com/obits GERTRUDE GEDDES WILLIS FUNERAL HOME INC. in charge.
Visit Lionel’s Guest Book
LIONEL J. BRAZILE, SR
Born on June 13, 1931 to the union of Louis, Sr. and Frances Brazile. He was their 12th and last child – the “baby” of a large Southern family.
Baptized at St. Monica Catholic Church in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1937, Godson of the late Ebbie (Sporty) and Clara Brazile. Lionel attended primary school in Kenner, Louisiana. Drafted to the U.S. Army, Lionel served honorably in the Korean War and returned home with four Bronze Star Medals and a United Nations Medal of Valor.
He never wavered in support of our nation’s veterans and would often encourage any one still deciding on a career path to volunteer and serve their country. On the day of the horrific attacks on our nation, 9/11, Lionel called to see if he could rejoin the U.S. Army.
Lionel graduated from Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans and received a basketball scholarship from Grambling State University. His talent in basketball led to an invitation to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters.
In 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, the late Jean Brown. Their union resulted in the birth of nine children: Cheryl Ann, Sheila Marie, Donna Lease, the late Lionel Jr (Teddy Man), Chet Anthony, Alesia Cecile, Demetria Louise, Kevin Patrick and Zeola Patricia.
Lionel lived in Kenner, Louisiana for most of his adult life. He was active in the community and worked at Boh Brothers Construction Company, Dobbs House and retired as the Custodian Engineer at Riverdale High School in Harahan, Louisiana.
Lionel and Jean moved to Mid-City in the mid-80s. In 1988, his beloved wife of 32 years passed and Lionel remained in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina flooded his home and forced him to seek refuge in San Antonio, Texas. After a brief stay in Texas, Lionel returned to New Orleans to salvage everything left from the catastrophic storm and moved to Baton Rouge where he remained until last year.
In September 2011, Lionel took ill and was admitted to Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In October, Lionel began his recovery at the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve, Louisiana. Over the past five months, Lionel made remarkable progress yet suffered many set backs.
Lionel loved sports, especially the New Orleans Saints, Southern Jaguars, Grambling Tigers and LSU Tigers. He was a star Athlete, an active basketball player and enjoyed riding his bicycle everywhere. His favorite nickname was Goose.
He loved fine clothes, fashionable shoes, and strong cologne. Upon return from Korea, he outfitted many of his nephews with the latest fashions. Lionel loved to dance and enjoyed playing music – all kinds of music ranging from jazz to the blues, and the latest soul melody. He had a special relationship with all his siblings including the late Ethel, Louis, Ebbie, Anna, Adele, Pinky, Dorothy, Frances, Alice, Rosalie and Lucille.
He was a gourmet chef and enjoyed cooking Southern meals such as red beans and rice, smothered chicken, baked chicken, succotash, corn bread and potato salad. He loved cold beer and lively company. He was a deeply spiritual person – said his Novena every Tuesday, the rosaries once or twice a day and made special pleas on behalf of his family and friends. His patron Saint was St. Anthony.
Lionel possessed many talents and skills: he was an artist, a carpenter, an electrician, roofer, plumber and wood smith. He built an addition to the house on Filmore Street without any architectural plans. No one ever messed with his tools – many destroyed like so much in the aftermath of Katrina.
Lionel was a proud Grandfather (Paw Paw) and Great Grandfather to Janika, Roderick Jr, J. Mallore, Kevin, Colin, Whitney, Brianna, Aailyah, Kiristin, Malik, Elmore, Chet, Karim, Joel, Jace and Kevin Courtney. He provided for all of his nine children and if needed they could return and get on the “Books.”
Lionel is survived by his sister Lucille Jones of Harlem, New York, his brother – in laws, Nathaniel, John and Floyd Brown, Sister in laws Zeola Bellephant and Gwen Hathorn and many nieces and nephews, including Ethel Mae, Jack, Brother Yancy, Barbara Ann, Tina, Mary Louise, Gail, Louis Smalls, Anna Rita, Gregory, Joe, Mark, Eric, Louis Jones, and a host of other grand nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
In the final weeks of his life, the Doctors, Nurses and others often marveled at Lionel’s resiliency and the ability to bounce back. He was a great storyteller, yet he wasn’t always comfortable talking around new people. He had to read you first, but once he accepted you, he prayed for you daily.
He was decent, kind, feisty, mercurial, tough as nails, enjoyed cleanliness and his space always smelled of fresh disinfectant.
There will never quite be another Lionel Brazile. He was extremely generous, blunt, compassionate, combative and fearless.