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Notes:
Mirrored with permission from the Bahá'í Faith Website of Reno, Nevada; no longer online, but available at archive.org.

Billie Marie (Tuttle) Brackett

by Richard Francis

edited by Arden Lee.
2003
Billie Marie Tuttle was born into possibly the most illustrious Bahá'í family in America. Her grandparents are Charles and Maria Ioas, who recognized the Bahá'í Faith in 1898, becoming some of the first believers in the United States. Charles spoke seven languages and was a brilliant scholar, having graduated from the University of Munich, Germany. After emigrating to the United States, he passed the Bar Examination for the State of Kansas at the age of 21, and practiced law. .

Maria came from Bavaria where her uncle was a steward to King Ludwig LI. She and Charles were playmates as children. She was an only child and vowed to one day have 12 children of her own. After the untimely deaths of both her parents, she was raised by an aunt and uncle who subsequently emigrated to America in 1880. She and Charles were reunited and married, having 12 children, two of whom died in infancy. Their seventh child, Viola, was to have two daughters, Billie and Lois. The Ioas family moved to Chicago where Billie was raised.

Billie's uncle, Leroy Ioas, was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God by the beloved Guardian of the Bahá'i Faith, Shoghi Effendi on December 24, 1951. The following year he moved to Haifa, Israel with his wife Sylvia to serve at the Bahá'i World Center. 1.

Three of Billie's aunts and uncles became Knights of Bahá'u'lláh and sped the Bahá'i message to countries and islands all around the world, many for the first time. The entire family actively tough the Faith.

Despite the devotion to the Cause by her close family, Billie didn't become a Bahá'i right away. 2.

Billie once described what it was like to accompany her ant and uncle on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1953 and meeting her uncle Leroy Ioas, Hand of the Cause, and Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith. It was a touchy situation crossing the Jordanian boarder into fledgling Israel, escorted my military personnel through the demilitarized zone and undergoing interrogation by officials of both countries.  Saying or doing anything could have brought suspicion. If it wasn't for the fast talking of a Palestinian cab driver that suddenly just showed up to meet them on the Israel side of the DMZ she was certain that she would have been either imprisoned or if nothing out of character found, unscripted into the army. The driver had been sent by her uncle Leroy to deliver them to Haifa.

Bellie often described her search for truth during her college years and how she would question ministers about controversial subjects and even be a source of trouble at Bahá'i firesides discussions. Finally, to the delight of her mother, Billie became a Bahá'i. soon after graduating from the University of Illinois.

She moved west and married Stanley Brackett. Together they took the message of the Bahá'u'lláh to Mexico and established a bakery in a small pueblo to earn a marginal living while teaching the Faith.

Eventually they returned to the United States and settled in Reno, Nevada where her mother, Viola Tuttle was now residing..

Bellie became an elementary school teacher with the Washoe County School District where she tough for some 25 years. Stanley became the top auto mechanic for the world renowned William F. Harrahs Automobile Collection which during the nineteen-sixties had over four-thousand classic and historic automobiles. 3. Standley also kept a private car collection of some 23 Studebakers, most of them in good operation condition.

Billie and her husband helped establish the Local spiritual Assembly of South Washoe County on Ridván 1980. After Standley's death on March 28, 1990, Billie continued her activities in the Faith, often opening her home for Bahá'i gatherings and dinners In early 2000, with failing health, she moved to Monterey, California to be near her sister Lois and her family. At the age of 80, Billie passed on at her Monterey residence on November 17, 2000.

References
  1. Leroy Ioas was appointed Hand of the Cause of God in 1957 His biographical account may be found in "Leroy Ioas" by Anita Ioas Chapman, George Ronald Publishers.
  2. A child born into a Bahá'i family doesn't automatically become a Bahá'i. They must declare there belief in the Teaching of Bahá'u'lláh at the age of fifteen. or older.
  3. The Webmaster often enjoyed listening to Standley talk of his work restoring classic cars for the Harrah's Auto Collection. One of particular was when a Fará engine was installed in a Jeep Wagoneer for an entree in a Baja Cross Country Race.
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