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 Alexander McKnight Bracken

Alexander McKnight Bracken

Birth
Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Death 22 Apr 1991 (aged 82)
Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, USA
Burial Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, USA
Plot Section H, Lot 502
Memorial ID 66899918 · View Source
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Alexander McKnight Bracken, lawyer, philanthropist, and former chairman of Ball Corp., died Monday in Ball Memorial Hospital after a long illness. He was 82.
He was with Ball Corp. and its predecessor, Ball Brothers Co., for 45 years when he retired in 1978 as chairman. Previously he had been vice president, secretary, treasurer and general counsel.
He had a distinguished career as a member and president of the State Teachers College Board 1954-65 and then as president of the Ball State University board of trustees for 15 years after the institution was accorded university status.
He was a Ball State Teachers College alumnus and his alma mater honored him twice-in 1965 at spring commencement with the conferral of an honorary doctor of laws degree and in 1974 when the university's new library was designated the Alexander M. Bracken Library.
And in 1989, members of his family, through a $1 million gift, established in his honor the university's first endowed academic chair, in the history department.
Mr. Bracken was first appointed to the Teachers College Board (whick also controlled Indiana State Teachers College) by Gov. George N. Craig in 1954 to fill a 2-year term after the death of George A. Ball, his uncle by marriage and one of the five Ball brothers who moved their manufacturing interests to Muncie from Buffalo, N.Y. It was the brothers' gift of the college buildings and campus to the state in 1918 that had established the college as a state institution.
He was reappointed by Craig and the by Govs. Harold E. Handley, Matthew E. Welsh adn Roger Branigin. It was during Branigin's administration that Ball State became a university and Mr. Bracken was named to its board of trustees and was subsequently elected chairman. He was reappointed by Govs. Edgar Whitcomb and Otis R. Bowen and retired in 1980.
He was succeeded on the board by his eldest son, Frank A. Bracken, now U.S. under secretary of the interior. Mr. Bracken's father-in-law, Frank C. Ball, a brother of George Ball, also served on the Teachers' College Board.
During Mr. Bracken's years as board president and trustees' chairman, Ball State grew from some 5,000 students to more than 17,000, several academic restructurings were achieved to accommodate university status, numerous buildings were constructed and the campus was expanded north of Bethel Avenue, west of Tillotson Avenue and south of Gilbert Street.
Mr. Bracken also served for many years as a member of the board of trustees of Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where his four sons graduated. He received honorary doctorates from Anderson College (now Anderson University) and Indiana State University, as well as the one from Ball State.
He was a longtime supporter of the Muncie YMCA and was chairman of its board of trustees for more than 35 years, retiring in 1986.
Alexander McKnight Bracken was the son and nephew of lawyers. And although his Indiana roots extended back through his paaternal ancestors in Franklin County, he was born in Toronto. He explained in later years that his mother, the Madge McKnight, and father, Muncie lawyer Thomas E. Bracken, had met in Muncie when her family came her from Pittsburgh to look after some gas wells in which her father had a financial interest.
Thomas E. Bracken's father went to Ontario at the suggestion of his future bride's father to work as lawyer in mining interests and later with an insurance company. He and Madge McKnight were married there and their son was born there. The family remained in Ontario for several years, returning to Muncie when Alexander was 8. He graduated from Central High School. After attending Ball State for a year, he earned bachelor of arts and doctor of jurisprudence degrees from the University of Michigan.
He practiced law briefly with his father, Thomas E. Bracken, and uncle, Leonidas L. Bracken, in the firm of Bracken, Gray, and DeFur, and he joined the corporate staff of Ball Brothers in 1933. He was admitted to practice before the Indiana and U.S. supreme courts.
He had been chairman of the board of directors of Merchants National Bank of Muncie for 25 years, retiring in 1981. He was former president of the Muncie and Western Railroad (a belt line controlled by the Ball interests), longtime director of Ball Memorial Hospital, president of the George and Frances Ball Foundation and vice president and treasurer of the Ball Brothers Foundation. He also had been a director of the Ball State University Foundation and the United Fund (now the United Way) of Muncie and Delaware County.
He was a former president of the Rotary Club of Muncie, the Muncie-Delware County Chamber of Commerce and the Muncie Redevelopment Commission.
His memberships included the Lawyers Club of Michigan, The Delaware Country Club, Columbia Club in Indianapolis, University Club of Chicago, University Club of New York, Muncie Rotary Club. President's Club of the University of Michigan, Fellows of the President's Club at Ball State University and Grace Episcopal Church, where he had been a member of the vestry and served as senior warden. He had been a proctor of Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis. He was a member of the Delaware County, Indiana and American Bar associations. He was an honorary member of Muncie Jaycees and Beta Theta Pi social fraternity.
The Bracken family home is at 2200 W. Berwyn Road in Westwood.
Surviving Mr. Bracken are his wife of 59 years, Rosemary Ball Bracken; four sons, Frank A. Bracken, Washington D.C., Thomas B. Bracken, Cambridge, Mass., William M. Bracken, Indianapolis, and Alexander E. Bracken, Boulder, Colo.; a daughter, Elizabeth A. (Mrs. Frederic Jr.) Wiese, Indianapolis; nine granddaughters, Ann Rosemary, Margaret Elizabeth, Jane Catherine, Amy Katherine Ball, Elizabeth Mary, Ann Margaret Grace, Sarah Olson and Betsy Alexander Bracken, and Ellen Bracken Wiese; and seven grandsons, Thomas Clayton, Mark Elliott Maugham, Johnathan Alexander Parry and Matthew William Bracken, and Bradley Evans, Joseph Frederic III, and George Thomas Wiese.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Grace Episcopal Church, with Rector Charles Mason officiating. Interment will be in Beech Grove Cemetery.
Honorary pallbearers will be Stefan Anderson, David M. Meeks, Alvin Owensley Jr., John J. Pruis, John E. Worthen, and Reed D. Voran.
Calling will be 4-7 p.m. today at Meeks Mortuary.


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  • Created by: Jane
  • Added: 14 Mar 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 66899918
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Alexander McKnight Bracken (7 May 1908–22 Apr 1991), Find A Grave Memorial no. 66899918, citing Beech Grove Cemetery, Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Jane (contributor 47242360) .