“A little bit of Waxahachie left with him.”
That’s the sentiment from Waxahachie resident Robin Fox as she reflected on the life of World War II Navy veteran Horace Bratcher, who died on Oct. 22 at 93 years old.
“He was an icon that made Waxahachie Waxahachie,” Fox said. “Everybody knew who Horace was. Everybody loved him.”
Bratcher was born in Waxahachie on February 19, 1926. Although he served in the Navy during WWII, many people today remember him as a barber, which was his profession for 29 years after returning home from duty.
It’s not uncommon to hear stories from men who said Bratcher gave them their first haircuts as boys.
Jeff Murray recalled sitting in Bratcher’s barber chair in the 1960s.
“He lived beside my grandparents on Hackberry Street, and he cut my hair when I was little at his barbershop off the square,” Murray reminisced.
Even years later, Murray said the barber was still fond of him.
“He still remembered me and my parents when we would see him,” Murray recounted. “He would always tell me, ‘I remember cutting your hair when you were little’.”
Among his many talents, Bratcher was also an entertainer. Just last year at 92 years old, he aroused the crowd during the OddFest art and music festival at Singleton Plaza in Waxahachie with a mesmerizing rendition of Bill Haley and his Comets’ “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”
Bratcher was a dedicated and life-long member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was touted as the backbone of the fraternal order. It was also last year when he was awarded the prestigious Odd Fellow Meritorious Service Award for his service above self.
“Horace doesn’t have a lot of money, but he’s one of the richest people I know,” Tom Wright, a long-time trustee and secretary of the organization, told the Daily Light in March 2018. “He’s been a source of strength and stability for us at the lodge since I’ve been there. Anyone who has been at the hospital has probably met Horace. He’s made it one of his life missions to go up there and talk to sick people, and he’s done it my whole adult life.”
A jack-of-all-trades and a master of them all, Bratcher spent years as a professional champion cutting horse trainer and seller. Fox remembers him instructing a class on quarter horses in the late 1960s.
“When I was nine years old, I was in 4H and I was in the Horse Club,” Fox said. “Horace came and taught us how to judge quarter horses. He gave us a class, and then we ... had a quarter horse show where we actually had to go and judge horses, and then he would tell us how we did and what we could do better. He was just a sweet man, a wonderful person."
Bratcher leaves behind his wife of 72 years, Doris; sister Allyne Carroll; nephews William J. Ratcliff, Jr. and Mike Fuller; niece Nancy Brown, and a host of other relatives and friends.
Visitation for family and friends was held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 at Boze-Mitchell-McKibbin Funeral Home in Waxahachie.
The funeral service takes place on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Brown Street Church of Christ, where Bratcher was a devoted member.