Richard N. Bramble, 72, of Chestertown, MD passed away on September 4, 2019, in Seasons Hospice at Christiana Hospital, Newark, DE. Born on August 19, 1947, he was the son of the late Thomas Henry Morris Bramble, III and Catherine Wilson Bramble.
Known affectionately as Richie and Chop, Bramble was a lifetime resident of Chestertown and played an integral part of downtown business. For nearly 30 years, the backroom of Bramble’s Menswear was a crossroads for discussion about local politics and social happenings that attracted a diverse collection of visitors. Many of the Town and County’s thorniest political disputes were resolved (or not) in the backroom, but Rich always ensured the environment was positive, driven by his friendly demeanor.
Rich was a 1965 graduate of Chestertown High School. An advocate for small business and a long-time member of the National Federation of Independent Business, he believed in providing great customer service. He started at Southern States Cooperative before he began his career in retail sales with Bonnett’s Town & Country, now the home of Kent County Department of Social Services, in the ’60s and ’70s. In 1980, Rich opened Bramble’s Menswear, which he operated until its closing in 2009. His shop will be remembered long into the future; his labels tagged many suits and ties still being worn today. He was working for Ramsey GMC at the time of his death.
Sam Heck, Chestertown native, and attorney, has known Rich since childhood. He grew up on Washington Avenue. Rich, two years younger, grew up around the corner on Campus Avenue. His friendship with Bramble extended back to their childhood days playing sandlot pickup baseball games in a playground behind what is now Garnett Elementary School.
“He was a great guy from the time growing up and through his whole life,” Heck recalled. “He was you classic good neighbor and almost generous to a fault.”
Heck played golf with Bramble from youth. “He was an excellent golfer who broke the (Chester River) Club course record of 67 for about two weeks in his 20s, that was until someone came along and broke his 66,” Heck remarked.
Jack Diller first met Rich when Bramble entered the seventh grade at Chestertown High School where Jack proctored homeroom. It was Jack’s first year teaching and Rich’s first year in that school building. “We were always friends after that,” Diller said. “Rich followed me to work at Bonnett’s when I left there and I worked part-time for Richie when he opened his shop across the street.”
“In my consideration, he really became a compassionate and concerned businessman,” Diller recalled. “He was a real gentleman; I will miss him.”
Tom Stevenson of Quaker Neck started buying his clothes from Rich at Bonnett’s and followed him across the street to the shop at the “T” of Spring and High Streets. “He was one of the most honest and sincere people I have ever met,” Stevenson continued. “He was a friend to everyone in the community.”
“The backroom was fun,” Stevenson remembers. “It was a place where persons from all walks of life could show up, tell stories, laugh, and have a good time.”
Richie was a member of Chester River Yacht & Country Club, the Downtown Chestertown Association, Republican Central Committee, Chestertown Elks and a past board member of Kent County Humane Society.
Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his second wife of 21 years, Lynn Freeman Bramble and a brother Robert Bramble.
He is survived by his wife of 5 years, Frances ‘Frannie’ Bunch Bramble; his children, Scott Bramble (Jill Smith Bramble) of Warwick, MD and Laura DeVol (Michael) of Davidsonville, MD; the mother of his children, Anne George Bramble DeComo of Massey, MD; a brother, Thomas Bramble and 4 grandchildren Sarah Catherine DeVol, Nicholas Clarkson Bramble, Brian Patrick DeVol and Jordan Elizabeth Bramble.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, September 21 from 11 to 1 pm at Eastern Shore Bible Baptist Church, 13984 Gregg Neck Rd., Galena, MD, where service will begin at 1 pm.