Richard Franklin Brantley, born July 25, 1947, in Oak Harbor, WA to Bill and Evelyn Brantley. Bill was a Career Navy man, therefore Richard attended many different schools over the years, from Newfoundland to Whidbey Island, where he attended schools in Oak Harbor and Coupeville. He shared his childhood with his two brothers, John and Lew while living in Coupeville and later in the Officer housing at Fort Casey. He spent many summer hours working in the Sherman squash fields and on the Wannamaker and Reubel Farms.
After H.S. he volunteered for the Army and served in the Vietnam conflict from 1965-1967. Richard served with Company C, First Battalion 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Although he sometimes worked as a “Tunnel Rat”, it was while working as the point man on a jungle patrol when he tragically lost both legs from an enemy anti personnel mine shortly before his tour of combat duty was up. He was Honorably Discharged as a Sergeant after receiving the Purple Heart Medal, Bronze Star with “V” Device, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist’s Badge, Vietnamese Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Sharpshooter Badge (rifle).
Richard managed the challenges of life as an above-knee amputee brilliantly, completing an AAS at Clark College in Machining Technologies. Yet, gunsmithing, hunting and fishing, woodworking, repairing engines, machining parts, teaching kids through the State Hunters Safety Program and as a Cub Scoutmaster were his most enjoyable moments. He spent many hours gunsmithing, shooting any type of firearm and even cannons! Richard’s focus was never what he could not do, but how he could accomplish whatever he needed to do. He climbed onto roofs, drove tractors, boats and ATVs, and even winched himself out of a canyon on the back of an elk he shot. He lived a genuinely happy life. Twice married, he raised a large family. Richard is survived by his wife, Cheryl of Amboy, WA, his two brothers, John of Bellingham and Lew of Palmer, Alaska. He is also survived by seven children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
A celebration of life service with full Military Honors presentation conducted by the Patriot Guard/Tum Tum ALR #168 will be held Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, at the Mt. Valley Grange #79, 40107 NE 221st Ave, Amboy, WA at 1:00 pm. All are welcome.