Mr. Clarence Kenneth Brank, age 87 of Nashville, passed away February 28, 2015 at his residence.
Kenneth was born April 9, 1927 in Asheville, NC as one of two sons of Thomas Edgar Brank and Loretta Hall Brank. His brother, Leon, preceded him in death.
Growing up in the beauty of Asheville, Kenneth loved nature. He spent a great deal of time as a young man hunting, fishing and swimming. He was raised in the shadow of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in mainland eastern North America. He always called “his” mountain.
Kenneth served his country during World War II in the United States Army. From his natural training shooting squirrels and rabbits, he was quickly recognized by his superiors as an expert marksman. Repeatedly they pointed toward making him a sniper, but repeatedly he was able to avoid that appointment and use his skills elsewhere in service. He served in Germany and France, and was present at the Battle of the Bulge.
Returning from war, Kenneth was “finished” with taking orders on a regular basis. His natural “free spirit” led him to begin a journey across the country. ultimately his found himself working in St. Louis and Chicago at the train station, Montana in the logging industry, and Winlock, Washington where he drove a Greyhound bus and started his own business. For 20 years, Kenneth worked as a Water Well Driller, drilling over 400 wells in his career.
His Appalachian roots never left him. He was an accomplished fiddler and had a great sense of humor. His unique view of life and vibrant personality made him a natural draw to people, especially the young people. They enjoyed being in his presence and listening to his stories as he mixed humor, animation and his non-conforming bent to his tales. He was truly a man who marched to his own drum.
Although dementia, and ultimately Alzheimer’s, would affect his final years, Kenneth never lost his ability to play the fiddle. He was playing as recently as a few days before his death, entertaining those around him with his talent.
Kenneth is survived by his loving and devoted daughter: Loretta Brank of Nashville; as well as extended family and friends.
His family will gather with friends at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at the Middle Tennessee State Veteran Cemetery in Nashville. With military honors, Kenneth will be laid to rest, surrounded by those who likewise offered themselves to the service of their country.
His fiddle silenced here, Kenneth now plays in the presence of his Creator, sharing his talent and tales with all who will listen. His legacy will be felt by those who loved him, knew him, and retell his stories for years to come.
NASHVILLE FUNERAL AND CREMATION 615-256-1605.