After a lifetime defined by a deep commitment to his family and faith, constant learning and study, and quiet and meaningful service, William Layne Bracy, 81, died on Jan. 25, 2023, in Murray, Utah. He fought admirably against leukemia with patience and grace.
Bill was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sept. 11, 1941, to William Layne and Blenda Linnea Lindquist Bracy.
He attended East High School and the University of Utah — where he graduated as valedictorian with an honors degree in German in 1966. He served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany, setting the foundation for a lifelong love of the German language and culture. He completed two, yearlong fellowships at the University of Munich in Germany, before receiving a master's degree in Germanic Languages and Literature from Harvard University in 1971 and an MBA from Harvard in 1974.
Bill married Ida Christine Cannon in 1967 in the Salt Lake Temple; they are the parents of four children: Layne Cannon Bracy, Mary Rebecca (Becca) Bracy, Anne Christine Cannon Weinberger Bracy, and Andrew Cash Bracy.
He enjoyed a successful career in business, traveling throughout Europe, Asia, and South America; growing and expanding brands; developing new products, and implementing strategies. Among other positions, he served as president and CEO of Lionel Trains, president and COO of Bell Sports, executive vice president of Mattel Europe, president of Lenox Brands, and senior vice president of General Mills. Blessed with the natural ability to understand and speak multiple languages, Bill lived in many cities and states in the United States, as well as in Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served as a branch president, bishop, and stake president's counselor; ward and stake mission leader; and as a faithful and devoted home teacher and minister.
Bill saw the beauty and potential in every word of his massive collection of books and poetry, in the natural lines of wood and stone, in the notes of music — especially opera, and in all the people he met and the relationships he cherished.
With the constant support of Christine, he quietly, patiently, and endlessly volunteered his energy, time, and learning — spending more than a decade as a tutor at the Deseret Industries, sharing his insights about the scriptures and other readings with Church and study groups, making daily visits to a dear friend at a local assisted living center almost daily for seven years, and driving family members to and from school and to various appointments.
Bill loved traveling the world, hiking, and spending time with his grandchildren: Seth and Gabe Bracy; Timo, Koby, and Nika Weinberger; and Andy and Eddie Bracy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he and Christine quarantined together, finding joy in one another and in exploring local canal and rail trails and walking their neighborhood.
Bill is survived by Christine and his children, grandchildren, siblings — Maryruth (David) Farnsworth, Janeen Ward, Judy Jarrow, and Steve Foster — his children’s spouses — Amy Bracy, Kilian Weinberger, and Akiko Bracy — and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his stepmother Ruth Gilchrist Bracy, and his sister Loralie Mitchell.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at 11 a.m. at the Willow Creek 7th Ward chapel, 2115 East Creek Road, Cottonwood Heights, Utah, 84093. A visitation will be held at the same chapel on Friday evening, Feb. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. and before funeral services on Saturday from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Service will be live-streamed at http://lifestreamvideo.com/bracy.
I remember Bill and Chris while working for Fundimensions in Michigan. He was always kind to me. May you remember the good times and may his spirit live forever with you.
After long years of association with the Bracy family, I feel sad to receive the news of Bill's passing. I admired his graciousness and his immense scholarship. How fitting that his portrait has books as background, as indeed they were for his lifetime. I send my heartfelt sympathy to Anne and Becca, one of the dearest friends of my daughter Lolly. I hope that the gift of being close to him for years supports you now as you celebrate and remember him. Love to each of you.
Sending you and your family my deepest condolences and love,
Dear Christine , Layne, Becca, Anne and Andrew,
Bill was a big brother, mentor and great friend to me. I have fond memories of the few years we worked together at Bell Sports. I will always remember the fun filled dinners with Bill and Christine at their house . Bill loved collecting books and beautiful granite pieces !! And he had a story behind every collected item .
He was one of the smartest people I have ever known . And he was most humble and extremely generous with everyone around him. I never heard him raise his voice , yet he commanded respect and love from all around him. Always so happy and cheerful with a sense of humor rooted in his intellect and experience.
Each and every one of us who was blessed to worked with him took away valuable life lessons . I often quote “ As Bill Bracy would say … “.
A life well lived. Now he has joined the angels in heaven ! Thank you Bill for the life lessons and good memories 🤗🙏
William Layne Bracy, whom I've befriended for 45 years just as "Bill."
I have known few in my lifetime so distinguished in his accomplishments yet humble in his character: a man so quiet in his manner yet loud in his thoughts; so determined in his endeavors yet playful in his heart; so large in his presence yet gentle in his touch; so stern in his appearance yet kind in his soul.I have so many wonderful memories:Bill's frequent chuckles in the project meetings at Parker Brothers. The visits on Cape Cod (the water is cold!), Thanksgiving visits in Princeton (who's going for the Chinese?), the incredible tour of the Church and City of Salt Lake (Wow!), and his proud love and admiration for Chris and their kids.Of special note: The big presentation at General Mills, Comedian Alan King on stage entertaining and amusing all the big wigs at the official dinner.....Bracy and Stearns backstage hooting and howling over a competitive (Oh yeah!) electronic game, Super Cobra.And of course, the delightful, thunderous laugh when the turn of a phrase, playfulness of a child, or the humor of an event brought a twinkle to his eye and that outburst of sincere appreciation.In Bill's passing, the world has lost a very important spoke in the wheel of success that helped make all our lives richer and happier. And we are all much better for the ride we took with him.
Peter and Mary Gruol, Chatham, Massachusetts
Bill Bracy is one of the most influential people in my adult life. It is so rare to meet a person who is so deeply loving and kind to everyone he meets. From the first time I met Bill, I felt a sense of love and acceptance, and that he was happy to share with me and meet me wherever I was emotionally and intellectually. Bill Bracy, as I knew him, seemed at peace with himself almost all the time. I think this may have translated into his legendary ability to sleep just about anywhere. I have photos of Bill sleeping on couches, at the table, and even in the remote of tundra in Norway as we looked for muskox. His calm was never due to a sense of complacency or lack of curiosity, however. Whenever I knew I was going to spend the holidays with Bill, I prepared myself for a firehose of new information that he was excited to share. In his kind and thoughtful way, he would compare and contrast modern genetic theory with 19th century ideas about inheritance or discuss the history of video games and how Star Wars was so important to kids’ beliefs.
Over my years with Bill, I could see myself changing and feeling inspired to be a better person. He helped me feel comfortable and confident in myself. He also helped me feel accepted into a family in a way that I think I never have before. Bill taught me to slow down, to think, and to consider how what I say and do may affect my family and friends, and then how to connect with them showing my love.
I will miss Bill terribly every time I come across some new research that might change the world and I realize I can’t pick his brain about it. I will miss his great hugs. I will miss that feeling of being loved that I got every time he smiled with me over any little thing.
“I crashed on Neil Young’s couch.” Bill, or Mr. Bracy as I called him most of my life, was a great storyteller. His deliberate, focused delivery drew you in and made you feel that you were lucky to share that moment with him, lucky to have his attention and be regaled by one of his stories. He told me a story once about how when he worked at Lionel Trains, he and Neil Young worked so late into the night that he had to spend the night at Neil’s. What I remember most about the story was not his brush with celebrity, but the big smile on his face as he delivered the punchline, “I crashed on Neil Young’s couch.”
It’s not often you connect with your friend’s dad, but Bill’s warm, relaxed presence put me at ease and made me feel special. He really seemed to have a great perspective on life and enjoy the moments. I will miss him.
Bishop Bracy was such a wonderful man. He was in MA for a visit and came to the hospital to give my Mother a blessing. He had never met my mother due to her being so ill. The nurses and doctors were having a very hard time getting my Mom to quiet down so they could treat her. The Bishop walked in and laid his hands upon her head and anointed her with oil and blessed her. It was so wonderful, she quieted and was peaceful.
Bishop Bracy was a man of God and served his fellow man with love and tenderness. He will be so very missed. I feel very lucky to have known and loved him. My prayers go out to his loved ones.
To Becca and family,
May the peace of God and great memories of your Dad be with you now and always.
With love and intimate understanding of this new normal,
Audrey KS Lane