Kay Ellen Bramble
December 26, 1954 – January 21, 2021
On January 21, 2021 at 8:12 p.m., Kay Ellen Bramble opened her eyes briefly to look into the eyes of her beloved husband Lance as she took her last breath and passed away peacefully at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Three of her children and one of her beloved nurses were at her bedside as she shed her earthly bonds and gave her soul to God after struggles with complications from a bacterial infection and end-stage renal disease.
“Miss Kay” was born on December 26, 1954 in Baltimore, MD, to William T. and Betty M. Cheesman. One of five children, her family moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1958, and she remained there for 55 years. She had a fun-filled childhood on the shore. She and her family spent Sunday afternoons at her grandparents’ farm in East New Market, where they enjoyed homemade ice cream and the children were marveled by the lack of indoor plumbing. She spoke fondly of summers at her grandparents’ home in Essex, MD, where her Grandmom taught her to swim, and she joined her brother Mike and cousins Carol and Jim in their just-for-fun lip-sync band, “The Itts.” Family lore tells of the time when a very young Kay danced on the roof of her father’s pickup truck, only to be indicted later by covert film captured by her Uncle Ed. This showmanship in her younger years paid off; in her teenage years, she was active in the school chorus, a participant in Up with People! and played the part of Alice in the 1972 Cambridge High School production of “Bye Bye Birdie” before graduating later that year.
After graduation, she went on to marry and raise two children in Cambridge with her first husband, A. Theodore Waldsachs. In 1985, when Zion United Methodist Church needed a new secretary, Kay seized the opportunity. She served as secretary for more than 27 years, serving under eight pastors during her tenure at Zion. In addition to helping to organize and execute the church’s regular activities in the community, she was instrumental in the yeoman’s task of converting the church’s data from paper records to electronic. She helped to start its regular Soup Day events that fed hundreds of Cambridge residents during the cold-weather months and actively participated in Project Angel Tree. In addition to working for the church, she was also a founding member of its Hattie B. Skinner Circle. She was an active member of the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 7460 in Cambridge, and held a number of leadership positions, including serving as Auxiliary President from 1997 to 1998.
In the early 2000s, she met her sweetheart and soulmate Lance (who she would marry in 2005) and embarked on a “second life” filled with fun, friends, family and travel. During their many trips together in the early years, she fell in love with Clearwater Beach, FL, explored the the many parks of Walt Disney World, and toured all the states of New England. She delighted in walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, visiting historical sites in Salem, spending the day in Kennebunkport dining on lobster, and shopping in Nantucket.
On April 15, 2012, after a period of failing health, she received a life-sustaining double lung transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. She was one of a dozen people whose lives were improved that day by one organ donor’s final gift, and she guarded that gift fiercely. A passionate proponent of organ donation, she would go on to mentor many others in need of similar surgeries and her story would inspire many in Maryland and in South Carolina, where she moved with her husband in 2013.
In her post-transplant years, Kay and Lance continued to travel and live life to the fullest. Her new lungs allowed her to expand her horizons. She hiked mountains and streams in Tennessee, explored the Biltmore mansion in North Carolina, and was proud to climb the 219-step spiral staircase of the lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida. She enjoyed taking walks on the beach, sipping tea on her patio and watching the lizards, and enjoying family and friends. Kay was an active member volunteer in the church family at Waterbrook Community Church in Little River and was a member of the Women of Hope bible study group.
She was well-known for giving freely of her love, her energy, time, advice, and her recipes. Friends and family will have the luxury of remembering her every time they pop open a jar of her homemade jams and jellies and will dearly miss her homemade treats. Her husband will be discovering her candy stashes around the house for a long time to come. She had a keen love for animals, and adored her beloved “Lucky Dog” as well as the bunnies, lizards and birds that visited her yard. She loved to visit the Alligator Adventure park and was always on the hunt for a friend willing to spend an afternoon visiting Utan, Bob, and the other animals there.
Kay is survived by her husband of 15 years, W. Lance Bramble of Longs, SC; daughters Wendy Waldsachs Isett of Catonsville, MD, and Alana Bramble of Longs, SC; sons Steven Waldsachs of Chestertown, MD, and Michael Bramble of Conway, SC; daughters-in-law Sara Riall and Melissa Bramble; sons-in-law Clint Isett III and Christopher Jones; three grandsons Zachary, Christopher and Lucas Isett; a soon-to-be-born granddaughter Baby Bramble; brother Michael Cheesman and his wife Vista; sister-in-law Joanie Parks and husband Johnny; brother-in-law Jeff Bramble; cherished friend Debbie Tapper; and numerous other family members and friends.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 1 pm at Zion United Methodist Church in Cambridge with Rev. Tonya McClain and Kevin English officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in her name should be directed to the Lung Transplant Foundation, the Waterbrook Community Church in Little River, SC, or the Hattie B. Skinner Circle of Zion United Methodist Church in Cambridge, MD.