Desmond H Bragg passed peacefully from this life on July 31st at the age of 98.
Desmond was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1918. Orphaned at the age of four, he spent the next ten years of his life in an orphanage in Beaumont, Texas and, later, with a foster family on a dairy farm in Kountze, Texas. At sixteen, in the middle of the Great Depression, he hopped a freight train and headed north to seek his fortune with nothing but fifty cents and a biscuit. In Denver, Colorado, at the age of 17, Desmond joined the army. While stationed in Fort Warren, Wyoming he was befriended by a loving missionary family who encouraged him to become a minister. Desmond left the army to attend North Park College and Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.
While serving as an interim minister in a small town in Northern Wisconsin, Desmond met the love of his life, Jean Harriet Kroon. Desmond left the seminary to join the navy near the end of WWII and he and Jean were married in 1945. With Jean’s encouragement and support, Desmond went on to get a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate in Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Desmond, Jean and their three children eventually settled in Des Moines, Iowa where Desmond was a professor at Drake University for 25 years. During this time, Desmond also became a marathon runner and a noted speaker and writer on the subject of UFOs. In 1987, a tragic accident left him paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Desmond went on to co-author a comprehensive text entitled Science Meets the UFO Enigma in 2002. He published his autobiography Started Out from Texas in 2014.
He is survived by his children: Claudia Bragg Roven, John (Coleen) Bragg, and Kirk Bragg (Steven Walterman); five grandchildren: Lydia Roven, Michael (Katie) Bragg, Benjamin (Mia) Bragg, Mary Bragg, and Matthew Bragg (Lindsey Ayala); two great grandchildren: Daniel Desmond Bragg and Beau Matthew Bragg; brother, Dr. Norman A. Harvey of Queensbury, NY; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 60 years, Jean Bragg and grandson Daniel Bragg.
Desmond overcame insurmountable odds and never gave up. He was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Services will be held on August 13, 2016 at 3pm at the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines.
Desmond was a proud member of the Unitarian Church for 50 years. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions for Desmond may be made to the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines.