Retired professor of education dies

By Daniel McMahon

Mabel Brantley, a professor of education at NIU from 1956 until her retirement in 1975, died May 31 in Macon, Ga.

“She was really active in language arts and children’s literature and a good friend,” said Marion Sheriff, a retired education professor and Brantley’s former colleague.

“She was a great swimmer, too,” added Sheriff speaking about Brantley’s social interests. “She often returned to St. Simon Island to go swimming, as she liked to do when she was a child.”

Brantley maintained homes in Warner Robins, Ga., south of Macon, and at St. Simon Island on the Georgia coast. A graveside service was held June 1 at the Rock Springs Cemetery near Dublin, Ga.

At NIU, Brantley showed great personal interest in the success of her students. “She was very tuned into her students, besides being very active in various organizations,” Sheriff said.

As a result of her avid involvement in international organizations, she was awarded a Carnegie Research Fellowship and a Rockefeller Fellowship, both while at NIU.

In 1958 she went to Afghanistan to help develop a teacher education program.

“She was also one of the few people invited back to Afghanistan the following year, where she lived in primitive conditions for sake of the children and the teaching program,” Sheriff said.

A native of Dodge County in central Georgia, Brantley taught in Georgia public schools and at Mercer University in Macon before joining the NIU faculty.

She held a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State College for Women, a master’s from Duke University and a doctorate from Columbia University.

Brantley’s survivors include a sister, E. A. Gregory, of Eastman, Ga., and a number of cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents and by another sister, Nola, a well-known Georgia teacher for whom Robins’ Nola Brantley Library was named.

Contributions can be made to the donor’s favorite charity.