Mel Brainard, Jr.

Mel "Mel" Brainard, Jr.

1936 - 2021

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Obituary of Mel Brainard, Jr.

Potsdam - Merrill J. “Mel” Brainard, Jr., 84, of Ames Road, Potsdam, died Saturday, January 2, 2021 at United Helpers Riverledge in Ogdensburg. Services will be held privately for the family. Burial will be in Chapel Hill Cemetery in Parishville. Lawrence Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Canton is handling arrangements. Mel was born January 23, 1936 in Parishville, NY and was the son of the late Merrill J., Sr. and Ruth (Berckley) Brainard Benton. He graduated from Parishville High School in 1953 where he was awarded Class Valedictorian. He furthered his education at Dick Arthur Polygraph School in NYC where he was top of his class. On September 8, 1956 he married Elaine Pharoah in the First Baptist Church in Potsdam. The couple were married 64 years. Mel was a veteran of the US Army serving from March 1959 – March 1961 as a Medical Specialist and served in the Reserves for an additional eighteen years. He was also a NYS Trooper for five years before transferring to St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department where he served as an Investigator and Under Sheriff for Lefty Allen. He became a Sergeant and was in charge of the Juvenile Program and was also a polygraphist, retiring in 1992. He continued working part-time as a St. Lawrence County Court Deputy for several more years. In addition to his law enforcement career, he also drove tractor trailer for over 25 years. Surviving are his wife, Elaine of Potsdam; a son, Steven Brainard (Kathy) of Brasher Center; a daughter, Melanie (George) Armstrong of Lisbon; four grandchildren, Wendy (Michael) Parker, Ray (Jenifer) Mead, Kelsi (Michael) Flack and Katrina (Jason) Vario; four great-grandchildren, Rylie and Garrett Flack, and Ella and Maxwell Mead. He was predeceased by a sister, Ida Clark in 1998. Mel enjoyed riding motorcycles and was a private pilot for many years. Memorial contributions are suggested to St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Association, 48 Court Street, Canton, NY 13617. Condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.lawrencefuneralhome.org
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