This page is dedicated to my dad, Mr Donnie L McBrayer. He passed away 12/25/15 Christmas morning at 2:40am and was surrounded by his family. All but me.
I had went to see him in the hospital the day before, which was Christmas Eve, and I needed to come home to South Florida for some commitments. I was planning on driving back to Winter Haven early the next morning to be with Dad and the family, but there was a text from my brother Donnie telling me he had passed at 2:40am on Christmas morning. I must admit, I let out a yell and broke into tears. My HERO was with God Now.
It dawned on me a bit later, that God came and collected my Dad on the special day we celebrate the life of his son Jesus Christ, so I knew all was good, my Dad is in Heaven now. Let me tell you, my Dad worked hard and played even harder, but he was a good man you could depend on. And many people did. Dad was right with God when his time had come. He knew that you could be forgiven for your past sins. if you get right with the man upstairs, and he was.
Dad has left a name for me to build on and to be proud of. It is time for me to do my part to honor him. I could never match his reputation though. My Dad, Killer McBrayer / Bookie / Big Donnie, was larger than life to me. Those were his various nick names throughout his life that people knew him by. Killer McBrayer was when he played football in high school. Bookie was his young adult life. And Big Donnie was when my brothers moved back to Winter Haven and went to work with dad. People would say, "do you mean Big Donnie or Little Donnie?" or "When Big Donnie was younger". The stories I have heard of him and the way his friends tell me of the pride he had for his three sons, as well as, our 3 Sisters, Lynn, Judy and Wini. And if you ever saw the way his face would beam when he was around the grandchildren and the great grandchildren. They were his real pride and joys. I must admit, they are an exceptional group of young men and women. Two of the grandsons performed the service and their family sung some songs the family had requested. Ole Bookie McBrayer surely shed a tear. It was amazing.
The man was a legend in the tile industry as well. They say when Donnie McBrayer put a floor down? or a wall up? It was there to last until you wanted to change it. And if trouble broke out at the local bar or pool hall and they needed some help? They would call my dad to come clear house. Mom said he left the dinner table many times to go help a friend. I even heard he took on the whole Bartow Football Team and that they had a note on their bulletin board "Not to start a fight with Donnie McBrayer".
So even though we were not as close as my other two brothers were to him, we had a special bond. I know he was proud of my tennis career and all I have done in life. I was a different breed than him and he knew it. Alike in some ways, but I am much more like my mom in many other ways. And if you remember, they divorced. LOL My mom, step mom and dad, remained good friends until the end. When my mom passed away in 1992, Gerrie and her daughters were right there to comfort us in our times of need. God Bless them all.
Below are some photos I have of dad. There is not a lot. See, I never really lived with my dad. I would visit him and spend a few weeks, but I never lived with him. We would speak on the phone most of the time. I would call him before I left the country just in case something happened to me, he would know I loved him. Or if I needed some advise on some contracting issue. Like needing a painter, roofer or something like that. Or to tell him I had ran into one of his old friends that had ask me to say hello to him if I would? And of course I would.
I never told my Dad he was my real HERO. He never knew how much those stories I have heard of him meant to me. He never knew the pride I have of his name. He left a legacy I can never fill. My two brothers are doing their part and have carried on the tile business. My Dad did like Real Estate as well and had many houses during his life. I guess I got that from him. One of the last conversations we had, he told me he was PROUD of ME. I don't think I ever told him how PROUD I WAS OF HIM. RIP DAD. And Thank you for everything. You were an awesome DAD!!!
A song I wrote for my parents. It started out being for dad, but I realized it is for both of them. As they are now both in heaven. "The Lord Came A Calling A Took My Daddy Home"
BenYer's Investment Group & McBrayer Investment Trust Properties