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Joy Bragg Browning, went to be with her Lord and Savior on July 22, 2019. Joy was 89 years old. The eldest of four daughters of Mark “Dangie” Bragg and Thelma Edice Lovejoy Bragg, was born in Logan, WV, November 3, 1929. A retired school teacher, she taught at Logan High School, in Logan, WV; Boyd Anderson High School in Ft. Lauderdale, FL; New Smyrna Beach 7th Grade Center in New Smyrna Beach, FL; and DeLand Middle School in DeLand, FL. Though her work record shows 32 years of teaching, she was in education much longer, beginning school at 3 years of age. Her mother, Thelma, was a teacher in a one-room school in Lincoln County, WV. Joy and her mom would ride horseback, even in the snow, to that school each day. Growing up on Sandy Bottom Road in Logan, Joy had fond memories of childhood where everyone was respected regardless of class, race or national origin. She would speak fondly of store-owner, Louis Abraham, a Muslim who would feed the hungry coal miners’ families, allowing them to put food and goods on a tab to be paid at a later date, knowing full well most would never be able to pay. A life-long learner, Joy earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching from Marshal University in Huntington where she would go on to earn a master’s degree and an education specialist degree. She taught thousands of students during her years, subjects ranging from physical education and driver’s education to typing, business and social studies. She was also certified as a school guidance counselor. Her love of travel, fed by her father Dangie Bragg, took her to visit may countries and experience many cultures. From Russia to China, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Mexico, Africa and Europe numerous times, her love for travel, people, and adventures never ceased. Her love of the USA was evident, proudly wearing USA t-shirts, hats and bandannas wherever she traveled. Traveling to China and Russia she would pack Hershey bars to give to children and traded her blue jeans with a teenager in Russia who wanted a pair of American blue jeans. She backpacked across New Zealand and stayed in youth hostels from time to time. She said if you want to know anything about a country just ask the college students! She never met a stranger. She loved her Logan Wildcats and her Thundering Herd and proudly assumed her self-appointed role to be a goodwill ambassador for WV to those she met around the globe. She also traveled extensively in the USA, visiting many national parks (Denali, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Arches, Canaveral National Seashore, King’s Canyon) and loved taking in the Las Vegas lights, or the spectacular climate of Hawaii. With a camper in tow, or sleeping in her van, she was always on the go to see new places and learn about new cultures and religions. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Orange City, but also regularly visited Grace Brethren, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish Synagogues, Catholic Churches, Greek Orthodox, Mosques and others seeking to understand their points of view and truth. “The one thing we all have in common is that we want to be loved and to have what is best for ourselves and our families,” she said. “God is larger than just one church or one denomination. He is Universal and Infinite.”
Joy was preceded in death by her son, Douglas Copley; sisters Darlene Bragg Schroder, Glory Gay Bragg Riggs, and Lora Mae Hill Smith; husband, James Kenny Browning, Jr.; parents Mark and Thelma Bragg. She is survived by her daughters Sandra “Sandy” Copley Riggs of Orlando, FL; and Keni Jimette Browning Lanagan of Maryville, TN; nephews Mark Kristopher Walter Schroder and his son, Blake; nephew Stephen Lee Smith and his daughter, Chloe; granddaughters Meagan Annette Lanagan Byrd of Maryville, TN; Shelby Riggs Hopkins and Shirley Riggs both of Orlando, FL, and grandson Alexander Riggs of Mount Dora, FL; and 7 great-grandchildren.
No services are planned. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a contribution to your local church, Logan High School or Marshal University in her memory.