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Crowded Brantley Funeral a Sign of Lives She Touched

February 16, 1995|KEVIN UHRICH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Audrey Brantley's son, Eddie, never really knew how many lives his mother had personally touched until her funeral last week.

Turning around in his front row pew at All Saints Episcopal Church, Brantley saw Pasadena Mayor Katie Nack, other City Council members, city department heads, community and business leaders and many longtime family friends he hadn't seen in years, standing or sitting in the packed church.

"But you know what?" Brantley recalled a few days after the somber ceremony. "The feeling of the magnitude of the people who were there--that was dwarfed by the feeling that we are all on one level."

Audrey Brantley, a longtime activist whose involvement--especially in Pasadena neighborhood and political affairs--spanned nearly half a century, died Feb. 7 after suffering a heart attack. She was 74.

A founding member of the city's Northwest Commission and its chairwoman at the time of her death, Brantley was also involved with redevelopment and seniors issues. She served as a member of the Fair Oaks Project Area Committee, which oversees the use of federal housing funds, and lobbied city officials to reinstitute the disbanded senior citizens commission.

Brantley, a retired deputy district director of the county Department of Public Social Services, was a founding member of the W. D. Edson Neighborhood Assn. and last year served as community grand marshal of Pasadena's Black History Month Parade.

But Brantley might be best known for her vocal opposition to African American Councilman Isaac Richard's candidacy in 1991.

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In spite of the often-public animosity between the two, Richard fondly remembered Brantley as a "warhorse" when it came to fighting for positive change in her neighborhood.

The two both fought for a community shopping complex in the city's impoverished Northwest.

The shopping complex, which had been a city priority for many years, was finally approved by the City Council in November. Richard said he will propose naming the $7-million shopping center at the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard in memory of Brantley.

In addition to her son, Brantley is survived by her sister, Symanthia Williams, of Los Angeles, two grandchildren, two nieces and a nephew.

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