Although her days numbered far less than many are given in which to compose their life’s song, the impact Amarhi Vann made in the lives of those around her was no less significant. She was vibrant and talented in so many ways, and she used her gifts to bring sparkle to so many who were within her reach. Amarhi was driven and filled with perseverance – the sort of person who never backed down from whatever challenge faced her. Taken from her loved ones far too soon, she will be deeply missed while her memory remains forever near and dear to the hearts of her numerous friends and loved ones.
The 1990s were a colorful time in American history filled with growing technology that changed the way we lived our everyday lives. Nestled within this unprecedented time was the year 1997 that was filled with numerous noteworthy events that captivated our attention. Millions of televisions were tuned in to the O.J. Simpson trial during daytime television and the world watched in alarm as the news of Princess Diana’s untimely death spread. It was during this eventful year that the birth of Amarhi Imani was celebrated. She was welcomed into the world on September 15th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by her parents, JoAnne (Reyes) Bracero and Michael Vann.
A delightful young girl right from the start, Amarhi was raised in the Bay View area in the family home she shared with her mother and stepfather, Librado Bracero, and her siblings, Vanessa, Anthony, Jasmine, Caitlyn, and Branden. Her mother stayed home to care for Amarhi and her siblings while Librado worked hard as a police officer in Milwaukee. Throughout Amarhi’s life her father Michael and her stepmom, Antonia, were a constant presence, and her additional siblings, Michael, Demetrius, Vannessa, Jordan, Lauren, and Shay were also very close to Amarhi and important parts of her life.
Amarhi was always a flutter of activity. She was a student at Woodlands School from K5 through the eighth grade and then went on to Dominican High School this past year for ninth grade. Amarhi was a girl of many talents and gifts that greatly enriched not only her life, but the lives of those around her, too. She was athletic as she played soccer for a time and was also a cheerleader during her later years at Woodlands School. In fact, Amarhi even served as the captain of the squad and earned a spot on the cheerleading squad as a freshman in high school.
In addition to athletic accomplishments, Amarhi also had so many other things to be proud of. She was in several plays at the Modjeska Theatre including being cast as the youngest von Trapp daughter, Gretl, in the Sound of Music when she was only five, which made her the youngest person to ever land a major role there in the history of the Modjeska Theatre. Amarhi was also in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. While in middle school Amarhi was a member of the forensic team with her dearest friends, Ariana, Angie and Solana. Together the three girls called themselves “Solana’s 3 A’s.” Always a good student, Amarhi earned an award for her essay for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
By the time Amarhi reached the sixth grade, she became obsessed with fashion and dreamed of one day becoming a designer. She was known to raid the closets of her female relatives to “borrow” clothes – so much so that she has been called a repeat offender of this crime! Amarhi read her fashion magazines from cover to cover and always excitedly announced “It’s here!” whenever one came in the mail. She had plans to learn to sew as she put the plans in motion to accomplish her dreams. Amarhi’s interest in all things beauty also extended to hairstyling at times. On one such occasion she set about styling her mother’s hair, and all went well until Amarhi got the comb hopelessly tangled in her mother’s hair that it was quite the event to set it free!
There were so many things that Amarhi loved. Music, watching horror movies with a blanket pulled up by her face during the “scary parts,” and eating things like pizza, chicken wings, and ribs were favorites. As her father Michael can attest, Amarhi could pack away as much as most men despite her petite frame. Her father was the one she hit up for coffee ice cream, and she was also a huge Starbucks fan. Amarhi knew her way around the kitchen and enjoyed cooking with brownies and chocolate filled crepes that she learned to make from her French teacher being among her specialties. She enjoyed working on the computer and was a Mac whiz to the point where she even taught her mother and stepfather how to navigate the world of computers. Amarhi was always very inquisitive and would thoroughly investigate any subject that sparked her interest.
Throughout her life there was never anything of greater importance to Amarhi than the people she treasured. She cherished the times she spent fishing with her father as she was the sort of young girl who never shied away from getting her hands into everything. Holidays, especially Christmas and Thanksgiving, were times that Amarhi always looked forward to as these days in particular always brought the family together. Of course the presents at Christmas were also a plus as she was always sure to write a very detailed Christmas list for her family. In addition to her family, Amarhi’s friends also held a special place in her heart. Like many young girls, spending hours on the phone with her friends was a favorite pastime. Although many of her family members spoke fluent Spanish, it wasn’t until she was in high school that Amarhi began to learn the language by taking Spanish class in school with a teacher she loved. Doing so became very special to her as she was able to further the connection with her Puerto Rican heritage. It was an added benefit that Amarhi was able to understand what her mother and stepfather were saying when speaking at home!
A delightful person who was growing into such a responsible young girl, Amarhi Vann was a gift in the lives of her family and friends. She had a bright future that was filled with dreams rooted in the world of fashion or perhaps the military as there was nothing she couldn’t do. Amarhi was such a joy and was quick to remind her family that they should smile since it takes so many more muscles to frown. Life will never be the same without her here, but Amarhi will never be forgotten.
Amarhi Vann died on June 24, 2013. Amarhi’s family includes her mother, JoAnne (Librado) Bracero; father, Michael (Antonia) Vann; siblings, Vanessa B., Anthony F., Jasmine F., Caitlyn F., Branden B.; Michael (Shaune) V., Demetrius V., Vannessa V., Jordan H., Lauren B., and Shay V.; grandparents, Sylvia and Ramon Martinez and Moses and Maxine Drew; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Visit with Amarhi’s family and friends at the Funeral Home, 1901 N. Farwell Ave., Sun. June 30, 2013, from 3:00 p.m. until the time of Funeral Services at 6:00 p.m. Private interment Woodlawn Cemetery. Please visit www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com to leave a memory.