Capt. Richard Francis Braden was born Sept. 25, 1946 to John and Eleanor Braden.He died peacefully on May 9, 2014 in Escondido, CA. Affectionately known as ‘Skip,’ he was a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather. Braden graduated from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in 1968 with a degree in Business. He then joined the United States Navy in 1968. While stationed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, he met and married the love of his life, Susan Palka. The couple settled in the San Diego area and had two sons, Paul (Rick) Braden and John Braden. They eventually made their home in Escondido, CA. Braden’s distinguished military career spanned 27 years as a Naval Officer and Naval Aviator. During his career as a Naval Aviator, Braden amassed over 5000 flight hours and 400 Carrier landings. His career was marked by several key leadership assignments, including three command tours of Aviation Squadrons and several staff assignments involving planning and operations. Braden was noted for his exceptional leadership abilities and for his mentorship. He had an extremely positive impact on the personal and professional development of hundreds who served for and with him. Braden’s military career stands as a legacy of excellence and an example of dedication, loyalty and exemplary performance and he was highly respected throughout the Navy. During his retirement years, Braden was a consultant and businessman in the automobile industry and served on boards for numerous charitable organizations including the VAW VRC Foundation. He also followed his passion for classic cars. He was a member of the Early Ford V8 club and was a regular fixture at Escondido’s Crusin’ Grand events during the summer. As accomplished as his Naval and private sector careers were, his legacy as a devoted family man was even greater. Braden was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He enjoyed traveling with his family, especially to Hawaii where he and Susan first met. While his sons were in high school, he never missed a San Pasqual football game to watch his sons play and always supported their passions and interests. In Braden’s later years, his three granddaughters took center stage. He loved to travel, swim or treat them to his favorite gelato. He also enjoyed taking them to Crusin’ Grand or for a spin in one of his classic cars. Braden is survived by his wife of 42 years, Susan; their children: Paul (Rick) Braden and his wife Alexis Braden, and John Braden and his fiancé Heidi Doyle. He is also survived by his three beautiful granddaughters: Willa, Grace, and Josie. Additionally, Braden is survived by his sister, Marybeth Keal and her husband Charlie Keal; and numerous nieces and nephews.
CAPT Richard “Skip” Braden, USN (Retired) (May 2014)