The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


December 6, 2012

Obituaries - Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bonnie G. Aliff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bonnie Guard Aliff, 89, of Jacksonville, formerly of Guyandotte Avenue, Mullens, passed away Tuesday, December 4, 2012.

Graveside services and burial will be 11 a.m. Saturday, December 8, 2012 at Roselawn Memorial Gardens, Princeton.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, December 7, 2012 at Tankersley Funeral Home, Mullens.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

Arrangements by Tankersley Funeral Home, Mullens.

James Franklin Brackman

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — James Franklin Brackman, 86, died November 22, 2012, at Fairfax Hospital, after a long illness. He was a long time resident of Alexandria.

James was born in Neola, W.Va., in 1926. He served in the U.S. Army/Air Force from 1945 to 1946 and received an Honorable Discharge. He completed a Bachelors of Science degree in Finance and Accounting from West Virginia Tech in 1950.

In 1952 Jim joined the United States Foreign Service and launched an expansive diplomatic career spanning 39 years. His first post was with the U.S. High Commission in Bonn, Germany, as part of the Marshall Plan. Jim then served at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. It was at his third post in Amman, Jordan, where he met his wife, Stella Scouros, and they were married in 1958. Jim subsequently served at U.S Embassies in Caracas, Venezuela; Karachi, Pakistan; Budapest, Hungary; Asuncion, Paraguay; Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia; Kinshasa, Zaire; Cairo, Egypt; Beijing, China; and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. He retired after his tour in New York in 1991 with the title of First Secretary. In the course of his career, Jim received numerous honors and awards for exemplary performance.

After his retirement he accompanied his wife Stella, also a Foreign Service Officer, to her posts in Rome, Italy; New Delhi, India; Moscow, USSR; Bridgetown, Barbados and Brussels, Belgium. He worked as a retiree at the Embassies in New Delhi and Moscow where he was assigned to train newly hired local employees in Administrative and Budget issues. He loved the Foreign Service and thrived at every post by immersing himself in the culture and the new experiences that each country offered.

During his long career he was a witness to world events. Jim was sent to East Pakistan (presently Bangladesh) on the evacuation plane to help with the evacuation of American citizens. He was a member of the control team in Karachi, Pakistan during the visit of the late Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy.

He served in Budapest while the U.S. was represented through a Legation, during which time Hungarian Cardinal Mindzenty had requested political asylum. Jim liked to tell the story that when the Cardinal, who often worked at night, found out that Jim was good at numbers and also a good typist, he would ring the bell for him the nights when Jim was on duty at the Embassy and ask "could I molest you?" The Cardinal's English was self taught and what he meant to say was "may I bother you?" In Budapest, he joined the diplomatic hunting club and hunted for boar at the hunting grounds of President Tito.

Born and raised in West Virginia, Jim loved the mountains and felt very much at home in Nepal. He loved to trek in the Himalayas and trekked to Everest Base Camp.

He was assigned in Cairo, Egypt during the assassination of President Sadat and participated in the preparations of all the VIPs and Presidents who attended the funeral.

In Beijing, China he participated in the preparation of President Reagan's visit.

He was assigned to the USUN Mission in New York during the first Gulf War.

As the Budget and Fiscal Officer, Jim was the main player in arranging all financial issues for the plethora of VIP visits at all the posts where he was assigned.

Jim was an enthusiastic sportsman, an avid tennis player and a menace at the net. He loved golf and strived to lower his handicap. In Barbados, while retired, he played golf daily and he used to say his "office hours are from 7-11:00 at the Rockley Golf Club." In Moscow he played at the opening of the first golf course in Moscow and won the initial tournament. Jim was an enthusiastic competitor and spectator of all sports. He followed and knew all of the scores of the various baseball and football teams and relished discussing them with his grandchildren Stephanie and Daniel. Closest to his heart was West Virginia football.

He loved returning to his home town Rainelle, W.Va., to visit the Brackmans, his sisters and brothers, and to play golf with old friends and nephews. He was very proud of his West Virginia roots and upbringing.

Jim made his home at Watergate at Landmark in Alexandria, Va., where he was an active member and former President of the Watergate Lions Club and the Watergate tennis group.

He battled with lung cancer for five years from 2000 to 2005 and stayed in remission until he passed away. His doctors used to call him "the wonder boy."

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Stella Brackman of Alexandria; daughter, Gloria Brackman Nussbaum and son-in-law Peter Nussbaum of Westport, Conn., and his two grandchildren Stephanie and Daniel.

A funeral service will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at the Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 3149 Glen Carlyn Rd., Falls Church, Va. 22041. Interment will be at Rock Creek Cemetery, Rock Creek Church Rd. and Webster St. NW, Washington, DC, on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 11 a.m.

Contributions may be made in Jim’s memory to the Foreign Service Living Foundation, 1716 N. Str. NW, Washington, DC 20036 or flowers may be sent to the Demaine Funeral Home, 5308 Backlick Rd., Springfield, Va. 22151, additional details will be available at www.demaine

Arrangements by Demaine Funeral Home, Springfield, Va.

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