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The Reverend James Braid

May 30, 1933 May 21, 2012
The Reverend James Braid
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Obituary for The Reverend James Braid

The Reverend James C. Braid of Hartland, former pastor of Milford United Methodist Church and, since 1998, Pastor of Visitation at Orchard United Methodist Church in Farmington Hills, died on May 21st, after a courageous, lifelong struggle with depression. He was 78 years old. Born on May 30, 1933 in Pontiac, he was the son of Carroll and Pauline (Stroupe) Braid. He graduated from Pontiac High School in 1951 and went to Albion College where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and, after graduation, went to Boston University School of Theology for his Masters in Divinity. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon at BU. Whenever he came home from school, he attended church with his family at Central United Methodist Church in Pontiac where another congregant, Judy Palmer, kept tabs on his homecomings. The young couple eventually married at the church on August 30, 1959. Soon after they moved to Redford Twp. where Jim became Associate Pastor at Aldergate UMC. It was during their three year term there that their daughter Lynne was born. It was during the six years they spent in the parsonage at Cass City UMC that Lynne�s brother Michael was born on a Sunday morning and his proud father put �It�s a Boy!� on the church sign. After Cass City, the Braids moved to Sanford where Jim pastored for fourteen years before moving to Milford in 1983 and retiring after a dozen years of service there in 1995. Then in 1998 he began his �retirement� ministry with Orchard UMC in Farmington Hills.
Jim Braid had a contagious faith and simple trust in the goodness of God. It showed through in his sense of humor -- he always would begin to giggle before he�d get to the punch line -- his deep compassion for the pain in others and the rich humanity of his friendships. After so many years of ministry, during which his schedule was often determined by events outside of his control, he became, in retirement a creature of habit. He rose early, went for coffee five days a week at the Looney Bakery in Highland where he and other retirees would solve the problems of the world. It was there he got his first glimpse of and his photo taken with the Stanley Cup when one of the �Bruise Brothers,� Joe Kocur brought in the trophy to show the guys. Every Wednesday in permissible weather he golfed with his good friend, Chris Smith, not especially well, but religiously. And he loved it. On Saturday mornings he had coffee with the old boys at Dimitri�s in Milford where he would catch up on news, talk about sports and handicap the upcoming high school and college and professional games. He worked out regularly at Bally�s in Novi and was a great fan of the Tigers and often prayed for their success.
But mostly Jim Braid was a minister -- he answered a calling to serve God by serving God�s people, whom he baptized and married and counseled and cared deeply about. Possibly because of the crosses he bore in his own life, he was especially gifted at assisting people in bearing the crosses in theirs. He was always at the hospitals and nursing homes and family homes and funeral homes, willing to bring God�s love, the power of prayer, and the assurances of faith to the sick and suffering and dying and bereaved.
And he counted the greatest among God�s gifts to him, his beloved family. Preceded in death by his sister, Normalee Flynn, Reverend Braid is survived by his wife of over fifty years, Judith, their daughter Lynne (Steve) Morgan, their son Mike (Tera) Braid, and granddaughters, Paige and Brittany. In addition to extended family, he is survived by a host of fellow pilgrims, living and dead, to whom he gave his life in ministry, and who regard him as family and who, along with his family, mourn the death of a dear man and give thanks to God for his life among them.

Friends may visit at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty, Milford, on Thursday, May 24, from 2-4 and 6-8PM. Funeral service will be Friday, May 25, 11 AM at Orchard United Methodist Church, 30450 Farmington Road, just south of 14 Mile Road in Farmington Hills. Burial Milford Memorial Cemetery. For further information please phone 248-684-6645.

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