‘Pioneer’ Bernie Braden remembered
Cape Coral residents are mourning the passing of former city councilwoman Bernie Braden.
Braden, who served on the city council from 1989 to 1993, has also been president of the Cape Coral Association of Realtors, two-time chairman of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce and was awarded Citizen of the Year.
She also worked closely with the Rosen Brothers as they created Cape Coral.
Cape Coral Chamber President Mike Quaintance said Braden was a key figure in the early history of Cape Coral, and worked hard to ensure the installation of memorial bricks for veterans at the Four Mile Cove Ecological Park. She was so prominent in this project, the community nicknamed her the “Brick Lady.”
“She was an unstoppable force when it came to the bricks at the Iwo Jima statue,” he said. “Obviously, as a retired Air Force sergeant, that was near and dear to her heart.”
As a result of her contributions to the community, Quaintance said the park next to the chamber’s office on Cape Coral Parkway was named the Bernie Braden Park in her honor.
“I’m sorry to see her pass, she was a huge contributor to our community,” he said.
Elmer Tabor, owner of Wonderland Realty in Cape Coral, knew Braden for 48 years. She came to the city to work for the Gulf American Corporation.
“She was like a mother to me growing up,” he said. “Everywhere I went in public I always called her Mom.”
Tabor said she was the kind of person to inspire others and make sure things got done.
“When she got something in her head, she wanted to get accomplished, you better go along with her,” he said.
Gloria Tate, former city councilwoman, worked with Braden for years. She described Braden as a “Cape Coral pioneer.” In fact, her father and Braden worked together at the Gulf American corporation.
“There was nothing unkind you could say about Bernie,” said Tate. “I never heard her have an unkind word for anyone.”
Tate said she was passionate about many things, including her involvement with Rotarians, the Cape Coral Caring Center, Neighborhood Watch programs and the Cape Coral Historical Society.
When Braden ran for office, Tate said she empowered women in the community by passing out emery boards as campaign flyers.
And she was a regular at every ribbon-cutting event throughout the city.
“One of the things people may or may not know about her is that she had a very generous spirit,” said Tate.