Eugene Green Braxton, a former civil engineer with the Department of Water and Power, proud graduate of the University of Southern California and beloved patriarch of the Braxton family, died Oct. 13 at his Los Angeles home. He was 95.
Braxton, the second son of Elijah Green Braxton and Emma Fox, was born in 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The family moved to Los Angeles and settled into the Central Avenue corridor, one of the only neighborhoods where, as he would later recall, “only people with our paint job could live.” Elijah Sr. purchased and successfully ran a neighborhood gas station But the Great Depression hit hard and caused him to eventually lose the business. Elijah Sr. passed away suddenly in 1931.
Financial struggles forced Braxton and his mother to move to a few different houses. He attended McKinley Jr. High (now Carver Middle) and graduated from Jefferson Sr. High in 1940. To help support himself and his mother, he worked at Lockheed Aerospace while also taking classes at Los Angeles City College
In World War Il, Braxton was drafted into the United States Navy, and served 18 months on a ship in the Pacific. Though proud to serve his country, he was frustrated with his assignment as a mess cook even though he had more than a year of college credits by that time.
After his discharge, Braxton was hired by the U.S. Postal Service. He also continued his college studies in the evenings. He was introduced by his good friend and post office colleague Alfred Dudley to Lela Huey, the sister of Alfred’s wife, Emma. The two married, and the union produced two children, Debra, who was born in 1954, and Gregory, who was born in 1956. The couple were happily married for more than 50 years, until her death in 2002.
Braxton graduated in 1960 from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in mechanical engineering and began his long career as a civil engineer with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He would later earn a Master’s in civil engineering in 1973, also from USC. He would retire from the DWP in 1988 after more than 30 years of service.
He also had an extensive list of hobbies—photography, model railroading, playing electric football, going to double features with his family, and listening to music ranging from operas to Broadway musicals to The Carpenters. He loved traveling to places like Yosemite, New Orleans, San Francisco, and most of all, Hawaii.
In retirement, Braxton enjoyed spending time with friends and family. He hosted several parties that usually revolved around sports events such as USC games or the Super Bowl. He also had a deep and abiding love for his family.
Braxton passed away peacefully on Oct. 13, 2017 while in his bed at home. He is survived by his loving son Greg, and a multitude of family members and friends who adored him.