STAFF SERGEANT WILLIAM BRAAKSMA was born to William and Eleanor Braaksma on June 24, 1931. His father worked as a toolmaker.
The Braaksma family lived in Camden's Eighth Ward in the 1930s and 1940s. The family was living in Pine Hill when the 1940 Census was taken. They returned to Camden after the Census was taken and were still there as late as 1947, living at 552 Chelton Avenue in 1943 and later at 428 Van Hook Street and 1722 Ferry Avenue. William Braaksma grew up in this neighborhood, and attended the Mickle Elementary School at 6th and Van Hook Streets, and later Cooper B. Hatch Junior High School on Park Boulevard. By 1953 the family had moved to National Park, New Jersey.
William Braaksma left school and joined the United States Air Force as soon as he turned 17. He re-enlisted in the United States Air Force on June 20, 1951. During his time in the Air Force, he was stationed for one year in Korea.
William Braaksma Jr. was killed in an automobile accident at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta GA on December 20, 1953. His body was returned to New Jersey, and after a Mass at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, he was taken to Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly NJ for burial.
William Braaksma Jr. was survived by his parents, who had moved to National Park NJ by the end of 1953, his brother Henry, and two sisters, Eleanor T. and Cori Braaksma.
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