By Hannah Mitchell
Former Holly Springs Mayor Johnny Brackett passed away April 15, 2019. To honor his years of service to the City, we would like to dedicate this month’s column to his memory. This eulogy was written by Mayor Brackett’s granddaughter, Hannah Mitchell. — Erin Honea, Main Street Director, City of Holly Springs
Johnny was born February 12, 1943 at home in the North Canton Mill Village to Cecil and Ruby Brackett. The doctor gave the wrong date when he filled out the paperwork and put down February 14 instead. He was married July 23, 1961 to Barbara “Bobbie” Williams in a secret ceremony in Dallas, Georgia, and kept it a secret until Thanksgiving of that year.
Johnny was a salesman all his life. He was the national sales manager for J.A. Olson Company until he retired in 1987. Then, he opened a convenience store, B.J.’s Market, with his wife in 1987 in the Union Hill community. He was councilman in Holly Springs for a time before being elected mayor from 1994-1997. A forceful presence, Mayor Brackett oversaw the straightening of the dangerous Hickory Road curve, where numerous accidents had occurred. He campaigned for the repair and renovation of the historic Holly Springs Depot and is widely credited with “saving” the Depot for a new generation of citizens. Johnny, being outspoken and determined, clashed often with the leaders of the Canton City Council over the exact boundaries of city limits between Holly Springs and Canton. After he retired from mayoral duties, the City of Holly Springs erected a gazebo in his honor, Brackett Plaza.
In addition to his mayoral duties, he was a loving father to three children. However, tragedy struck in 1996 when he lost his only son, Chris. He sold his business and retired to a quiet life at home with his loving wife.
Johnny was an avid traveler, taking his wife and family on numerous trips to destinations both near and far. He was a passionate fan of golf. He adored watching The Andy Griffith Show and never got bored of it, no matter how many re-runs he saw. He loved his two daughters and was enamored of his grandchildren. He said that one of the proudest moments of his life was when he held his first great-grandchild in his arms, a baby girl who is named after his mother, Ruby.
After a long battle with declining health, he suffered a stroke and was brought home on hospice care. On a Monday afternoon, surrounded by his devoted family, he passed peacefully from this world, with the windows open to the sunshine and birdsong.
Mr. Brackett lived his life as a pillar of the Holly Springs community. He was a hard worker, a dedicated family man, an entrepreneur; he led his family, his businesses, and his town with determination and willpower.