Dale “Ducky” Popwell Braddock, 73, of Hilliard, Florida gained his wings on August 1st, 2023.
Ducky was born March 20, 1950, in Jacksonville, Florida, to Donald Pasco (D.P.) and Claudine Braddock. He was raised as a Christian and grew up attending First Baptist Church of Callahan, where he was baptized as a young boy. Ducky graduated from Callahan High School in the “Great Class of 68”, the last graduating class of CHS. After high school, he served in the Air National Guard while continuing his education at FCCJ, obtaining his AA Degree. From there, Ducky attended the University of Florida and graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education, and then the University of North Florida, where he received his Master of Education. Later, he was certified in Library Science.
He began his career in education at Landon Junior High in 1973 as a P.E. teacher and football and basketball coach. Ducky made the move to Nassau County in 1976, joining the staff of the Callahan Junior High School Ramblers, now known as Callahan Middle, where he was instrumental in beginning a weightlifting program. He wore many hats as a Rambler- P.E. teacher, librarian, and Head Football and Track Coach. Of all the hats, his favorite was “Coach” and he brought the Rambler Football team many winning seasons. In addition, Ducky coached the West Nassau Warrior Softball team and took them to the State Championship in 1992.
During this time, Coach Braddock was heavily involved with Pop Warner Football, Little League Baseball, and began the first youth basketball team in Callahan, also called the Ramblers. The team traveled to Charlton County for competition, as there were no other youth basketball teams to play nearby. He coached the Pop Warner Chargers for many years and led them to State Champs in the early 90’s. He was often introduced as “the winningest coach” in the league.
After many successful years teaching and coaching, Ducky changed hats again, and served as Assistant Principal and then Principal at Hilliard Middle Senior High School, where he was affectionally called “Mr. B” by both students and staff. Before his retirement in 2012, Ducky served as Nassau County’s Director of Secondary Education. Once retired, Ducky put back on his “Coach” hat to coach his grandson, Jack, in Pop Warner Football in Fernandina Beach.
Ducky will be remembered as a beloved teacher, coach, principal, friend, and mentor who touched the lives of thousands both in and outside the school walls. One of his most remarkable traits was his eternal optimism; his ability to uplift those around him. While he never met a stranger, those who knew and loved him embrace his memory as a loyal, loving man who exuded kindness. He was the ultimate encourager, helping countless friends, teachers, and students have the faith and fortitude to reach their goals.
Ducky will be missed immeasurably. His loss is one that leaves a void in every life he touched. He was the ultimate family man, married for 49 years to his bride, Carol. Together they raised two wonderful children, Bishop and Blake, who followed in both of their footsteps to become teachers and coaches. He loved fiercely and completely, and doted on his grandchildren, who lost him way too soon. Above all of the accomplishments listed above, he was most proud of his family, and his role as husband, father, and Pop. While Heaven’s gates were ready for him, his family was not ready to “let him fly”. His memory and presence will always surround us and will live on in our hearts forever.
Dale “Ducky” Braddock is preceded in death by his parents, D.P. and Claudine Braddock, his beloved Nanny, Winnie Hinson, In-laws C.V. and Virginia Emmi, brothers Donnie and Ronnie, Sister-In-Law Nancy Emmi, and countless others.
He leaves behind his wife Carol Emmi Braddock, son Bishop (Ashley), daughter Blake Jenkins (Tucker), grandson Jack, granddaughters Lexi and Logan, Sister-In-Law Lissa Braddock, Brother and Sister-In-Law Duke and Pam Emmi, nephews Ronnie Jr., Damon, Charlie, nieces Erin, Lauren, Natalie, and Lindsey and numerous great nieces and nephews. Fly high, Pop.
The family will receive friends Monday, August 7 at First Baptist Church of Callahan, 45090 Green Avenue, Callahan, FL 32011 beginning at 5:00 PM. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, August 8 at 11:00 AM at First Baptist Church of Callahan with Pastor Bruce Lamar officiating. Interment will follow in Jones Cemetery in Callahan, FL.
Condolences may be expressed by signing the guest registry at www.shepardrobersonfh.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Shepard-Roberson Funeral Home, 526 Oakwood Street, Folkston, GA 31537.