Floyd H. Bragg
Floyd H. Bragg, 98, died on August 22, 2014. He was president of the Rutgers University Alumni Association, class president and correspondent, a member of all three governing bodies, chair of the Board of Governors, and chair of the Board of Overseers of the Rutgers Foundation. He also served as an active trustee emeritus of the Boards of Trustees and Overseers.
He was born on October 25, 1915, in Newark, New Jersey. He was an only child of British, Dutch, and German heritage. He eventually became known as a business leader, educator, community leader, fundraiser, and philanthropist.
Floyd attended grammar school in East Orange and high school in Irvington and Verona. He graduated from Rutgers with a bachelor of science in business administration in 1936. At Rutgers, he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, the Cap and Skull Honor Society, and the student council.
Upon graduation from Rutgers, he joined The Prudential Insurance Company of America as a claims trainee. His early service to The Prudential was interrupted in 1941 when Floyd was drafted. Shortly before he began his service to the nation, he met his future wife, Helen, on a romantic cruise. According to him, she swept him off his feet. They were married on September 19, 1942, the day he was commissioned as an officer by the Adjutant General’s School. After that, they were an inseparable team, enjoying 71 years of a loving marriage, before her passing in 2013.
During World War II, Floyd rose to the rank of major in the Army Air Forces before being honorably discharged in March 1945. He returned to The Prudential and rose over the years to become president of Canadian Operations based in Toronto, then president of North Central Operations based in Minneapolis, and finally returned to Newark to become chief public relations officer.
He retired from The Prudential at age 65 to become a “volunteer extraordinaire.” One of his first major tasks was to chair the campaign to rebuild the famous Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn after it burned to the ground in 1980. Next, he was chair of the board to reorganize the Paper Mill Playhouse and pay off the loans acquired during the rebuilding process. He remained on that board for 25 years and retired as a trustee emeritus.
At Rutgers, his volunteer work was extensive, starting with raising money to buy a house for the Theta Chi Fraternity soon after he was discharged from the military.
Rutgers has awarded him an honorary doctor of law degree, the Rutgers Medal, the Douglass Medal, and the first Walter H. Seward Rutgers for Life Award. He was inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni, and he was selected as a Loyal Son of Rutgers. He was an active member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences for 20 years, receiving the Dedicated Steward Annual Award in 2006. He chaired the first major universitywide capital campaign for Rutgers, which exceeded all expectations by raising $165 million from 1984 to 1990. With his wife, he funded the Helen and Floyd Bragg Endowed Scholarship Fund at Rutgers that continues to support the education of a men’s football and women’s basketball scholarship athlete each year.
Additionally, he has served the New Jersey community over the years. He was a member of the Bernards Township Board of Education and played an active role in building Ridge High School, planning the curriculum, and developing the first budget. A life-long member of the Roman Catholic Church, he was active in raising funds to build the St. James Roman Catholic Church in Basking Ridge. He served on the N.J. Economic Development Authority and the N.J. Board of Higher Education. He consulted on the Civil Service System and personnel policies for Governor Meyner and the organization and administration of the NJ Institute of Technology for Governor Kean.
He rose to the top of any organization he joined, being well respected for his brilliance, logic, character, creativity, and thoughtful approach to any topic. He had a wonderful sense of humor that he used to present a positive spin on life every day. He was generous with his time, talents, and gifts, and he was a caring mentor to many. He lived his life according to a clear set of moral principles, inspiring those around him. He maintained many life-long friendships. He was an avid sports fan, attending Rutgers sports events in rain, snow, or shine and wearing red and black almost every day. He lived his final years at Parker at Stonegate, where he died with his daughters at his side.
He is survived by his family: his daughters, Jean Bragg Schumaker and Janice Bragg; Janice’s husband, Robert Kirby; and his grandsons, Jesse and Scott Schumaker.
A memorial service is held at Kirkpatrick Chapel at Rutgers University–New Brunswick (corner of George and Somerset Streets) on September 5 at 10:30 a.m., with a reception to follow in the Assembly Room in Winants Hall.
Please send condolences to Floyd Bragg’s family, 443 River Road, Suite 210, Highland Park, NJ 08904.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rutgers University Foundation, designated for the Helen and Floyd H. Bragg Endowed Scholarship (address: Rutgers University Foundation, 7 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901; Attention: Lavinia Boxill).