The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jan. 17, 2022

Larry Dean Bracken

Larry Dean Bracken, 80, of Van Wert, passed away at 9:25 a.m. Sunday, July 25, 2021, at Lima Memorial Hospital.

Larry Dean Bracken

He was born November 8, 1940, in Charleston, Illinois, the son of Clarence and Lila (Dunkerly) Bracken, who both preceded him in death. On August 16, 1964, he married the former Donna Winkle, who survives. Together, they shared over 57 years of memories.

Larry was a 1958 graduate of Continental High School. He received his undergraduate degree from The Defiance College in 1961 and his master’s degree, in 1964, from the University of Toledo.

Larry began his career as a teacher in Grover Hill in 1961. He later went back to Continental, where he taught and became the elementary principal. From 1967-1974 he was principal in Landeck and in Delphos at Franklin and Jefferson Schools. His career extended onto becoming superintendent of schools at Millcreek-West Unity and Lucas Local Schools. In 1980, he became Putnam County superintendent of schools until his retirement in 1993. After retirement, he was the administrator at Otterbein Leipsic Retirement Community and owned and operated Bracken Insurance Agency.

Larry was a charter president of the Continental Lions Club. He was a longtime 32nd degree member of the Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio, where he was past master of Israel Putnam Lodge 797, past district deputy of the Fourth Masonic District, and a member of the Zenobia Shrine. Larry was also a very active member of the Continental United Methodist Church, where he served in many different capacities through the years. 

Larry enjoyed woodworking, wood carving, fishing, gardening, bird watching, antiquing with Donna, and attending all of his grandchildren’s many activities. Larry’s passion was to help kids succeed in life.

Surviving in addition to his wife are his three children, Craig (Lisa) Bracken, Anissa (Bill) Prowant, and Dean (Sandy) Bracken; his eight adoring grandchildren, Jeffrey Prowant, Allison (Jordan) Wade, Clay, Matthew, Morgan (Hunter Blankemeyer), Madison, Evan, and Nate Bracken.

He was also preceded in death by a sister, Janna Downing; and two brothers-in-law, Sandy Downing and Al Sarka.

A celebration of Larry’s life will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 29, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Van Wert, with Pastor David To officiating. A private burial will take place in Monroe Township Cemetery, Continental.

Visitation is from 2-8 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, where a Masonic service will be held at 7:45 that evening.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Larry`s memory may be directed to the Continental Community Library or Israel Putnam Masonic Lodge 797.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 07/26/21 at 1:54 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries