Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Proposal to Rename Press Box in Honor of Bransfields


The Middletown City Council paid a tribute to Mr. Jim Bransfield at the April 2nd meeting.  He died February 24, 2018 at the age of 72.  Bransfield was born and raised in Middletown and went on to become a well-known history teacher at Middletown High & Woodrow Middle Schools.  He was also a Sports Writer/Columnist for The Middletown Press for over 50 years as well as the Sports Announcer at many sporting events in & around Middletown. He was a Sports Publicist too.  Bransfield was also a Freelance Reporter for the Meriden Record-Journal Weekly Publications for many years.  The City Council offered two resolutions honoring Mr. Bransfield's contributions to Middletown then a public hearing was held for a proposal to name the Baseball Field Press Box at Palmer Field Stadium after him and his son Dana which will be known as the "Jim & Dana Bransfield Baseball Field Press Box."  The City Council will vote on the proposal at the May 7th Meeting.

Councilman Thomas J. Serra read a memorial resolution from all of the City Council members honoring Mr. Bransfield's legacy, which was approved by acclamation and is below:
"Whereas, James  (“Jim”)  Edward  Bransfield, who passed away on February  24,  2018,  was  a  long-time resident, a respected teacher and writer, and an inspiration to this community; and
Whereas, Jim was homegrown, having graduated from Middletown 
High  School  (1963)  and  from  Central Connecticut State University, where he earned both a Bachelor’s Degree and a 5thYear  Certificate  in  Social Studies. As a public school teacher for over 30 years, Jim spent the majority of his professional career teaching and inspiring students at Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Middletown High School; and
Whereas, Jim was  a  master  teacher, who  made  history  and  social  studies  relevant  to  thousands  of Middletown  students over  the  years  by  speaking  artfully  and  passionately 
about  these  subjects,  thereby
inspiring many young men and women to become thoughtful and courageous adults; and
Whereas, during  his  tenure  at  Middletown  High  School,  Jim  served  as  class  advisor,  as  a cooperating teacher, and as a member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Committee (NEASC).  In addition, Jim had a very special role at Middletown High School as the student advisor for the award winning school newspaper, Blue Prints where students learned to write with conviction, honesty, and courage; and
Whereas, in addition to inspiring students to write, Jim, was widely recognized for his well respected column in The  Middletown  Press, which  he  penned  for  some  30  years, stopping  only  four  (4)  short  weeks  before  he passed; and
Whereas, Jim was  well recognized  as the  “voice of Middletown  sports,” announcing  countless local  sporting events as well serving as master of ceremonies for many special events; and
Whereas Jim  was  an  advocate  of  the  fundamental Constitutional  principle  of  equality  of  all  and  a  firm believer that democracy requires full participation from all citizenry; and
Whereas, as much  as  Jim  loved  his  public  life,  he  cherished  his 
family,  including  his  sons  (Dana,  who predeceased  him,  and  Chris),  his  daughter-in-law  (Megan),  his  grandchildren  (Clara  &  Henry),  his  brothers (Cam and Douglas), his sister-in law law (Karen), and his many nieces and nephews.
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Common Council of the City of Middletown:  On behalf of the people of Middletown, we salute James Edward Bransfield beloved  and  trusted  teacher,  citizen, 
mentor,  and  advocate,  who  lived  a  life  of  service  to the  people  of  this community. Be it further resolved:
On  behalf of  the people  of  Middletown,  our  sincere  thanks  and  our deepest sympathies to his family for his unforgettable contributions to the City of Middletown and its people." 

After Serra read the resolution he and several council members shared their thoughts about Mr. Bransfield's life.  Serra said "Jim started his career in 1963.  Councilman Santangelo and I were athletes when he was a stringer for The Middletown Press back then.  So his career actually started around 1961-1962 for The Middletown Press.  He did a great job reporting sports and announcing sports."  Serra also noted that Bransfield was the publicist for several organizations such as the American Legion Post 75 baseball team, the 1988 & 1999 American Legion World Series when they held their tournaments at Palmer Field Stadium, Mercy, Xavier, Vinal, Xavier & Middletown High Schools, Wesleyan University, Middletown Collegians, Middletown Sports Hall of Fame and several more.  Bransfield was also the publicist for the Middlesex Community College basketball team when they had an athletic program & Marv Hagel was the Athletic Director.

Councilman Grady Faulkner stated "I loved reading his columns mostly because they weren't just about sports they were about humanity and how you treat other people and things like that.  What really hit me was when he did a piece it started off as "Monday Musings" with a visit he had to the National African American Museum down in Washington, D.C.  It was fascinating reading.  He wrote it in just a manner that I actually felt I was in the museum with him the way he was explaining it.  I said 'Wow!’ this guy is very good.  That is just great stuff and that is what had an impression on me.  He was a good guy and god bless him and his family."

Councilman Phillip Pessina knew Bransfield when he went to Middletown High in the 1960's.  Pessina commented, "He was really dedicated to the Dragon Football teams and what really truly impressed me that he always wrote a fair article however we did on the field.  But what really impressed me that when we had a game last year we took the players ... to New Jersey and who was there first?  Jim. Jim drove himself all the way down to greet the team when we got off the bus, write about the game and was sure we got back on the bus to come back.  Jim was very big into sports and followed his high schools.  When you know somebody that long he was just a great guy."

Councilman Sebastian Giuliano mentioned  "I will miss my conversations with Jim on a variety of subjects.  Mostly MHS sports.  Every student who plays sports at any high school in Middletown whether it be MHS, Xavier, Mercy or Vinal has lost a voice.  Jim could disagree with you and it didn't change your friendship with him… Jim moderated the American Politics Program at MHS.  As part of the program students would go and work at a campaign headquarters.  Jim encouraged students of whatever political leanings to go and volunteer at the campaign headquarters of the opposing party and to challenge themselves and learn why some of your fellow citizens think differently than you about things.  That was something you don't see very often...  We were very fortunate to have him as long as we did."

Councilman Robert Santangelo noted that Mr. Bransfield "certainly was able to get the most out of young people. A great example of that was how he worked with the students to manage the school newspaper. That was extraordinary how they won national recognition year after year. He also encouraged young people to become involved in politics and their community by encouraging them to participate in elections. Jim was extraordinary and nontraditional in many ways. He understood what brought him to where he was and what he did was teach his students that same thing.  I think honoring him is a great thing and honoring Mr. Fragilio was also a great thing."

I would like to encourage all former students of Mr. Bransfield, former colleagues of his, present & former athletes along with present & former coaches that he wrote about in his 50 plus years as a Sports Writer/Columnist for The Middletown Press to please attend the May 7, 2018 City Council Meeting at 7 p.m. when the City Council will vote on the proposal to name the Baseball Field Press Box at Palmer Field Stadium after him and his son Dana Bransfield  to strongly urge them to vote yes.  If you cannot attend please call the Mayor's Office at 860-344-3401 or e-mail Mayor Drew at mayor@MiddletownCT.gov and e-mail the city council at council@middletownct.gov to let your opinion known. 

Thank you.


Frank LoGiudice

Author's Note: Mr. Jim Bransfield was my History Teacher at Middletown High School.

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