Richard Franklin Brantley was born July 25, 1947, in Oak Harbor, Washington to Evelyn and James Brantley. A Navy family, they moved to many Naval stations over the years, but their favorite place was always returning back to the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. He shared his childhood with his two brothers, John and Lew, pulling mischievous antics that only the Brantley boys could dream up. Upon graduating from Battle Ground High School, he joined the Army with his best buddy Paul Reed on the Buddy Plan. Richard served our country in the United States Army during the Vietnam conflict from 1965 to 1968, in Company C, First Battalion 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade USARPAC. Catastrophically wounded, he spent one and one-half years in Madigan Army Hospital. After recovering he was honorably discharged and received 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 the Sharpshooter Badge (rifle).
Richard’s way of living touched many people, inspiring them to believe that they too could accomplish any task if they set their mind to it. A lifelong learner, he managed the challenges of life as a bilateral above-knee amputee brilliantly, going on to complete an associate’s degree at Clark College in machining technologies, selling real estate, gunsmithing, woodworking, repairing engines, machining parts, teaching kids through hunters safety courses and as a cub scoutmaster, hunting, fishing, logging, and fixing or building almost anything. Richard’s focus was never what he could not do, but how he could accomplish whatever he needed to do in the simplest, most direct way. He climbed up on roofs, drove tractors, boats and ATVs, and when necessary, winched himself up out of canyons on the back of elk he shot. He lived a genuinely happy life, raising a large family and sharing his wealth of know-how with anyone who asked.
Richard left us on Oct. 27, 2021. He is survived by his best friend and wife Cheryl, seven children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. A celebration of life service with a 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, Washington at 1 p.m. All are welcome, rain or shine. Please direct donations in lieu of flowers to The Independence Fund.