John Alan Braly was born on May 1, 1983 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and died on October 28, 2020 in Norman, after years of fighting every day with chronic illness. He grew up in Woodward, the oldest child of Dr. Alan Knight Braly and Marilyn McInnis Braly, and was a beloved friend, engaging student, and enthusiastic Boy Scout. His free time was spent hanging out with friends, visiting the lake with his parents and his brother Nathan and sister Elizabeth, and commiserating with any animal or small child he came into contact with. In his high school years he spent his summers as a Scout Camp leader at Williams Scout Reservation, where he made lifelong friends and taught orienteering, among other things. He also enjoyed playing Dungeons and Dragons, and any other Role Playing Game, and the friends that he met at Williams are the ones who fostered that.
He graduated from Woodward High School in 2001, and earned his Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow distinctions that same year. At the University of Oklahoma, he majored in Philosophy and Science Education, and graduated in 2007, having been named Outstanding Science Education Senior. It was also at OU that he met and accidentally asked out his future wife, Alison. They began dating in 2006 and were married in 2010.
John spent his entire career in education. He was first a science and biology teacher at Woodward High School, where he also helped coach the Academic Bowl Team. Being back in his old high school, where beloved former teachers became colleagues, was an incredibly special time in his life and an amazing start to his career. He moved to Norman Public Schools in 2009, where he taught middle school science for several years before deciding to pursue a Master’s Degree in Administration, and began his career in school Administration, first as a Middle School Assistant Principal, then as an Elementary Assistant Principal. When John had to make a hard call to someone at the end of the day, he always followed it up with a call about something great that had happened that day, and he kept a folder of “good things” to remind him why he loved his job. We should all be so lucky.
John was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Dr. M.K. Braly and Dr. John McInnis, his grandmother, Esther McInnis, his father, Dr. Alan Braly, his brother Nathan Braly, and his beloved pup, Lillian Jane Braly.
John is survived by his wife, Alison, and their pup Daphne, of the home, his mother, Marilyn McInnis Braly, of Norman, Oklahoma, his sister, Elizabeth Braly Burghart, and her husband Jason, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, his sister-in-law, Melissa Braly and niece Sasha, of Houston, Texas, his mother- and father-in-law, Buddy and Carol Behrens, of Norman, his sister-in-law, Jessica Behrens, and her fiancé, Julian Haydon, and niece Sofia, of Norman, his grandmother, Margarita Braly, of Yukon, Oklahoma, and innumerable aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and colleagues who will miss his presence in their life forevermore, but always be grateful it existed.
His family would like to thank Dr. Dustin Tedesco and his entire team at Norman Regional Nephrology Associates, Melissa Kendall and the team at the Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute, and everyone at New Directions Home Dialysis, especially Ashleigh and David, for their care and assistance during his illness.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in John’s name to the American Kidney Foundation, Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, Forgotten Treasures Animal Rescue, your local animal shelter, or a local Educator’s school or classroom wish list.
John’s ashes will be interred in the columbarium at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norman in a private service for immediate family officiated by Father John Borrego. A virtual public memorial service will be streamed online on November 21, 2020 at 2 PM. Details will be forthcoming.
John Braly went by many names. To most of us, he was simply “John,” one of our favorite people, the guy that was always in your corner, who let you know how valued you were, always made you laugh, and was usually smarter than just about anyone else in the room. To his “kids,” who he loved and wanted the absolute best for, no matter what, he was “Mr. Braly.” We may never know the full scope of how many kids he impacted, but they do, and they will never forget him. To his family, he was sometimes “Juan,” because he was, of course, “Juan in a million,”, but also “Brother,” “Son,” and “Son-in-Love”. To his nieces, and so many of his favorite tiny humans, he was “Jojo,” the fun uncle that was always up to play or teach or listen. John always said that a man dies twice, once when his soul leaves his body, and once when his name is spoken for the very last time. Keep John alive forever by speaking his name, remembering his wisdom, celebrating his impact in your life, and knowing that he loved big and would insist we all to continue to love big in his memory.