Zakary Lee Bratcher, 27, was born at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, on March 4, 1994. He passed away at home in Strawberry, Arkansas, on February 6, 2022. Zak was the beloved son to USAF Retired MSgt Bobby and Denise Bratcher, the beloved sister Dakota and her husband Justin Mangrum, and the cherished uncle to Jason and Dean Mangrum.
Zakary’s life was far from normal. At the age of 18 months, he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a degenerative neuromuscular disease that causes the muscle in the body to atrophy until a person loses all physical abilities. Though Duchenne had a hold on his life, Zakary never let it define him as a person. He will always be remembered by those who knew him as a man of incredible strength and perseverance. He was a fanatic of all things penguins, firefighting, and war history. He was an inquisitive person who could talk your ear off for hours on anything history related. His greatest joy came 15 months ago when he became an uncle. He always looked forward to visits, phone video calls, or pictures.
In his youth, Zakary was a Goodwill Ambassador for the MS Gulf Coast and an advocate for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). For many years, Zak and his family were a staple of the WLOX (MS Gulf Coast) and Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, raising awareness and funds to support research for DMD and other neuromuscular diseases.
Zakary is survived by parents, Bobby and Denise (Massia) Bratcher of Strawberry; sister, Dakota (Justin) Mangrum of Bono; nephews, Jason and Dean Mangrum of Bono; grandmother, Janice (Durham) Bratcher of Strawberry; Aunt, Regina (Bratcher) Bell of Saffell; Great Aunt, Deanna (Stanley) Wrenn. Extended Family: Godparents, Wayne and Pam (Fortenberry) Freer; Aunt, Pamela (Massey) Cook of El Dorado; Uncle, Alex Moore of Ohio; Cousins, Taylon (Cook) and Daniel Steele and their children Sutton and Gabe of El Dorado, Jared Cook and his daughter Eva of El Dorado; Tracey Moore of North Caroline; Crystal (Otto) Rajtora of Peoria, Illinois; Terra (Kirk) Patton and Chris Massia of Kansas City, KS; Trèka (Ethan) Clark of Paragould; Wade (Sarah) Freer of Lafe.
Zakary was preceded in death by paternal grandfather, Charles Bratcher; maternal grandparents, Woodrow and Corabell Whalen, uncles Tom Massia, Rick Cook, and Jimmy Bell, aunts Jeri Shay and Sharon Whalen, and cousin Justin Bell.
Honorary Pallbearers: Jared Cook, Daniel Steele, Ryan Ward, Landon Davis, Wade Freer, Ethan Clark, Thomas Polston, and Blake Massey.
The Bratcher family wishes to express our gratitude to the many friends and family that have helped us through our journey. We would like to say thank you to his incredible caregivers who always went above and beyond to care for his many needs over the last few years: Holly Lamberth, Sheila Calfas, Linda Durham Johnson.
Graveside Memorial service will be held at the Little Cemetery on Thursday, February 10 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting all donations be made in his name to any of the many local cemeteries of Northeast Arkansas.