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Thomas Edward 'Ed' Braswell, Jr., 92, Dies; Helped Create Founders Park in Alexandria

A visitation will be held Tuesday evening at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, followed by a memorial service at St. Paul's Wednesday morning.

Thomas Edward "Ed" Braswell, Jr., passed away peacefully in Alexandria on Sunday at the age of 92. Patch archive photo
Thomas Edward "Ed" Braswell, Jr., passed away peacefully in Alexandria on Sunday at the age of 92. Patch archive photo
Thomas Edward "Ed" Braswell, Jr., passed away peacefully in Alexandria on Sunday at the age of 92. He would have been 93 on Monday, his birthday.

He served as chairman of the Alexandria Planning Commission for more than 30 years, beginning in the 1960s. In that role, Braswell was a key figure in the preservation of the historic character of Old Town Alexandria, as well as its historic homes and neighborhoods.  

In particular, Braswell worked to defeat the "Beggs Plan," an urban renewal initiative in the 1960s that would have bulldozed several block of historic buildings on King Street, as well as most of the historic neighborhood north of King Street in the vicinity of City Hall.  

Braswell also contributed to the creation of Founders' Park on the Alexandria waterfront. He assisted in the creation of Alexandria's Board of Architectural Review and the enactment of strict height limitations on new development.

He also contributed his legal skills to the creation of Founders' Park on the Alexandria waterfront. Developers were reluctant to purchase this prime parcel of waterfront property because of a centuries-old legal title dispute over the exact boundary between the City of Alexandria and the District of Columbia.

Since the legal title to the parcel could never be cleared, he arranged to have the parcel become Founders' Park. In his work on the Alexandria Planning Commission, he said that it was always his goal to strike a fair balance between the interests of the residents and those of the business community, to create a sustainable environment in which both residents and businesses could thrive.

Braswell was born in 1921 in Elm City, N.C., the son of Thomas Edward Braswell, Sr. and Sarah McCauley Braswell. He graduated from Duke University in 1942. He then served in the Army Air Corp. during World War II, stationed in India. He later graduated from Harvard Law School and commenced his legal career at the Department of Justice in Washington D.C.  

For the majority of his legal career, Braswell served as the staff director and chief counsel to the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1953-1976. Upon leaving public service, he went into private law practice with Corcoran & Rowe and later with Zuckel, Scout & Rasenberger in Washington D.C., before starting his own law firm based in Rosslyn.  

Braswell is survived by three of his four sons: Harry A. Braswell, Thomas Edward Braswell III, and Andrew S. Braswell. His eldest son, John M. Braswell, preceded him in death last year. He is also survived by his former wife, Jeff Sutherland Braswell of Port Gibson, Miss., his daughters-in-law, Sue and Pauline Braswell and Monica Fagan, as well as six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A visitation will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Alexandria from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a memorial service at St. Paul's Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m.

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