On Thursday, May 30, the Auburn Arena was once again filled with a reflective buzz as crowds of friends and family came to pay their respects to Rod and Paula Bramblett, who died Saturday evening in a car crash.
The service was held as a celebration of the Bramblett's lives and the impact they had on their friends and their family. Friends and colleagues spoke of the Bramblett's love for each other, their love for their family, their work and their love for Auburn.
Sonny Smith, a friend and coworker of Rod Bramblett, said that it was Rod Bramblett’s dream to have the job and family he had and that in life he fulfilled his dreams.
“Rod Bramblett was a dreamer," Smith said. "He was a dreamer with confidence — confidence earned by hard work. He was great, not good, he was great. I think everybody who worked with him was his friend.”
Smith spoke about Rod Bramblett's sense of humor and his ability to make people smile, about his time working with him and about his exceptional talent when it came to announcing.
“At the end of every broadcast, he would say, 'For my broadcast partner Sonny Smith, I’m Rod Bramblett, so long everybody,'" Smith said. “So long Rod Bramblett, he made my life so much better, I loved the man, I really did.”
Barbara Helms, a friend and coworker of Paula Bramblett, said that in the time they worked together they became true friends.
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“We talked about so many things, from the highs and lows of life to just sharing the mundane day to day activities that make up so much of our lives," Helms said. “We grieved together and worried about each other's families. We also shared our hopes dreams and plans for the future.”
Helms said that no matter what the two of them talked about, Paula Bramblett always conveyed how much she loved her family.
Debbie Wood, a friend of the Brambletts’, spoke about the couple as a pair, and about their love for each other and a family.
“You make a living by what you get, but you make a life based on what you give,” Wood said. “And it is evidenced by all you people here. They gave and gave.”
Men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl spoke on behalf of Auburn’s coaches and athletes opening with a “War Eagle” before telling some stories about Rod Bramblett..
Pearl also led everyone present in a standing ovation, as a tribute to Rod Bramblett and his work, both in the Auburn Arena and for the University in general.
“He loved Auburn athletics, and he loved Auburn University,” Pearl said.
Andy Burcham, a long-time partner in the booth of Rod Bramblett for baseball games, also spoke about his time working with him and shared memories of traveling with him. He spoke about some of Rod Bramblett's best and most iconic calls of his career recounting moments from the Final Four, National Championship, and World Series.
To close the service, Rod Bramblett's infamous "Kick Six" call was played, followed by "Living on a Prayer," a song by John Bon Jovi, Paula Bramblett's favorite artist.
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