By KIMBERLY REDMOND
PATERSON, NJ – Paterson is mourning the loss of Carnie P. Bragg, Jr., a well-known resident who touched the community in many ways.
Bragg, the Senior Director of Carnie P. Bragg Funeral Homes, passed away December 29, at the age of 81.
In a message posted online, the Funeral Home said, “He was considered a friend, Dad and ‘Grandpa Carnie Barnie’ by many. From the age of 6, when he began serving on his first funeral service, until as late as working a service just yesterday, he served and gave himself to the community wholeheartedly.”
Bragg, the second-generation director of the most prominent black-owned funeral home in the area, grew up in his family’s business and impacted the lives of thousands of families in the Paterson and Passaic communities – especially during their darkest times.
As word of his death spread, there has been an outpouring of support from the community, with many offering tributes to a man known for his generosity, spirit and wisdom.
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly called Bragg “a pillar in our community,” who “has been a blessing to me and many others.”
“Thank you for all you have done. Your legacy is amazing,” Wimberly wrote in a social media post. “I will miss our conversations and your jokes.”
Mayor Andre Sayegh said, “Paterson has lost a legend.” Bragg, he said, “was a proud Patersonian, Rotarian and Omega Man who contributed to countless noble causes.”
“I will miss his generous heart, his sense of humor and seeing him at community events. May he rest in eternal peace.”
Bragg was known for giving back to the city, a place he called home since 1945. Born in New York, Bragg lived in Passaic before moving to Paterson. After graduating from Public School No. 6, he attended Eastside High School. Following graduation, Bragg attended Fisk University and then went on to graduate from McAllister School of Embalming in 1963.
In 1962, Bragg enlisted in the United States National Guard and served until 1968, when he received an Honorable Discharge.
After that, Bragg continued working at his family’s funeral home, which was founded in 1937 by Bragg’s father, Carnie, Sr., a well-known man in the city. Following Carnie, Sr.’s death in 1972, Bragg continued his father’s legacy and took over.
In 2019, Bragg marked 50 years as a member of the Paterson Rotary Club, a period that included a term as president. He was also the first black member of the Chamber of Commerce and founded the now-defunct Paterson Association for Black Businesses.
Since 1972, Bragg served on the Board of Directors for the Paterson Boys & Girls Club and Trustee Emeritus for the Passaic County Community College Foundation Board of Trustees. He’s also been inducted into the Halls of Fame for School #6 and Eastside High School.
Councilwoman Lilisa Mimms reflected on Bragg’s passing, saying, “Some called you Bishop, the Mayor of Paterson, comedian, boss, chief, general, friend, dad, brother, but to me you were ‘dad.’”
“I’ll forever treasure our talks, wisdom and last visit. You were the best of the best and you loved the 4th Ward and our great city of Paterson,” she said.
Senator Nellie Pou said the legacy Bragg left behind in New Jersey and the Paterson community “is unmatched.” She added: “We shall forever treasure our fond memories of this honorable and exemplary man.”
Bragg was also supportive of many churches across northern New Jersey. In 1948, he joined the Calvary Baptist Church. He also sang in the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference and Choir Directors’ Organists’ Guild Workshop Choir.
Bragg has two children, a son, Carnie P. Bragg, III and a daughter, Kim Carnita Way McCray, as well as grandchildren.
Councilman Alaa “Al” Abdelaziz called it a “sad day for Paterson,” saying the city has “lost one of our greatest supporters.”
“Mr. Carnie P. Bragg and his family have cared four our city for over 80 years. I am deeply saddened by his loss and extend my deepest sympathies to his family. My prayers are with all those Mr. Bragg has positively impacted,” he said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.