Dr. Mildred Brazell passes away

Dr. Mildred Brazell hands a baseball to her son, Don, during the grand reopening of Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark in 2019.

Former Grand Canyon professor Dr. Mildred Brazell passed away Thursday after turning 98 on March 30.

Mildred, who taught at Grand Canyon for 38 years, was married for 72 years to Dr. Dave Brazell, who founded Lopes baseball in 1951 and coached the program for 28 years. The Brazells, parents to Don and Diane, each were named Professor Emeritus by GCU in 2001.

Mildred, a native of Conway, Arkansas, was the first person to receive a doctorate from Arizona State University’s Health and Physical Education program in 1967, making the Brazells the first married couple to do so as well at the same commencement.

"Mrs. B," as she was known on campus, remained a supporter of GCU Athletics following her husband's 2018 passing, throwing out the first pitch in 2019 when Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark reopened with an expanded stadium.

"Nobody probably has contributed more to Grand Canyon University over the years than Dave and Mildred Brazell," GCU president Brian Mueller said previously. "They have made countless contributions to the University and impacted thousands of lives from an academic, athletic and spiritual life perspective."

Mildred was active in the national and state alliances for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Education, Delta Kappa Gamma, Kappa Delta Pi, Arizona State Health Commission. Danforth Fellows, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the North Central Accreditation team, as well as being a charter member of National Association for Physical Educators in Higher Education.

In 1970, Mildred was a runner-up for the American Association of University Women of Achievement award to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

“Not bad company,” Mildred would say with a smile.

Mildred taught Sunday School classes for all ages at First Southern Baptist Church and continued teaching ladies classes there until she was 92. She taught every age between college and young marrieds through her last ladies class at age 92.

In addition to her two children, Mildred is survived by four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Services for Mildred will be at 11 a.m. Monday at A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries’ Bethany Chapel, 710 W. Bethany Home Road in Phoenix. Memories and messages can be shared on the Dignity Memorial website.

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