William E. Brantley, 72, retired assistant superintendent for the West Chester School District and a retired National Guard brigadier general who was a past president of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, died Saturday of heart failure at Park Lane at Bellingham, a nursing facility in West Chester.

Dr. Brantley graduated from West Philadelphia High School and earned a bachelor's degree from Temple University, where he met his future wife, Wanda Long.

After graduating from Temple magna cum laude, he served on active duty in the Army and then in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, rising to the rank of brigadier general.

In civilian life, Dr. Brantley taught at Dobbs Technical School in Philadelphia for several years before becoming an administrator in the York School District in 1976. He was later principal of Hanna Penn Middle School in York. In the 1980s, he was director of administration for the West Chester School District. He then was assistant to the district's superintendent and for a time was acting superintendent.

While working as an educator and fulfilling his weekend-warrior duties at Fort Indiantown Gap, Dr. Brantley earned a master's degree in education from Temple and a doctorate in education from Lehigh University.

He retired from the National Guard in 1990 and from the West Chester School District the following year.

In the 1980s, Dr. Brantley was the first African American elected president of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, his daughter, Robin Evans, said. In the 1990s, he chaired the chamber's committee to revive downtown West Chester.

Dr. Brantley was a member of the Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America and was an honorary Eagle Scout. He served on the boards of the Chester County Historical Society, the Scotland School for Veterans' Children in Scotland, Pa., the American Red Cross in Chester County, and the Chester County Historical Society.

His interests included military and black history; his favorite music was jazz, his daughter said.

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Brantley is survived by a son, Brian; a sister; a brother; and two grandchildren. His wife, an associate professor at Cheyney University, died in 2004.

A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Paul Baptist Church, 1 Hagerty Blvd., West Chester. Friends may call after 9 a.m. Burial will be in Rolling Green Memorial Park, West Chester.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.