Billy Bragg




Love Him or Not .... He was One of a Kind!!!

by Martha LeSueur Nicholson

Billy Bragg was less than two years into retirement from an illustrious career in education when he succumbed to heart disease in 1991.  He was named STAR Teacher at Albany High four times in the seventeen years he taught there!  His students all have opinions on why he was such a great teacher.  We asked his wife, Anne, what she thought made him so successful.  She replied, “I think some people are just born to teach.  His mother and two aunts were also teachers, so he was surrounded by it all his life and grew up expecting to be a teacher himself.  He really loved what he was doing”! 

Many of us also knew his mother as a substitute teacher when we were in school.  She literally taught all her life...even on the day she died!  She went home from school that day, lay down to take a nap, and never woke up.  Like his mother, Billy was so dedicated that he spent his Saturday mornings tutoring students who needed extra help.  To do that after spending all week in the classroom with us, you know that he truly loved to teach!

Anne is now an amazing 78 years young and still working full time!  She is Director of RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) at the Sowega Council on Aging.  She enjoys the work and the people so much that she has no plans to retire.  She and her pet cat, Ruby, live next door to her daughter, Harriet, who is a nurse at Phoebe Putney Hospital.  Harriet carried on the family tradition and tried teaching for a while, but decided her true love was nursing.  Harriet’s twin daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth, are students at Andrew College.  Sarah is planning to be a teacher, while Elizabeth wants to go into the ministry.

 Billy and Anne’s son, Richard, who was born when some of us were still in high school, served as an Episcopal priest before his untimely death in 2002.  His two daughters, Lisa and Thayer, are also pursuing college degrees.  Lisa wants to go into the Episcopal ministry like her Dad, and Thayer is majoring in art.

Wherever life takes these four girls we know they have a wonderful family heritage behind them, and a STAR to reach for on the way!  We bid you Godspeed on your journey and leave you with one of your grandfather’s favorite quotations from Alexander Pope.  Can’t you just hear him saying this now?

 “A little learning is a dangerous thing;
        Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring;
           There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
 And drinking largely sobers us again”.
Martha LeSueur Nicholson
Class of 1956


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