Charles Bryson McBrayer, 70, of Laurel Springs, died October 10, 2019, at his home in Laurel Springs, North Carolina.
He was predeceased by his parents, Charles (Pete) and Linda McBrayer of Forest City, N.C.; and his brothers, Tommy and Chris McBrayer.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; sons, Bryson McBrayer of Hartsville, S.C., and his wife, Melissa, David McBrayer and his wife, Emily, of Raleigh, N.C.; brothers, Richard McBrayer and his wife, Phyllis, of Rutherfordton, N.C., Grady McBrayer and his wife, Sheila, of Taylors, S.C.; sister, Lee McBrayer Logan and her husband, Beattie, of Asheville, N.C.; grandchildren, Avery, Lily, Charlotte, and Layla McBrayer, and Caden Smith; sister-in-law Katy Hall and her husband, Kenny, of Laurel Springs; brothers-in-law, Chris Turner and his wife, Debbie, of Banner Elk, Tim Turner and his wife, Elizabeth, of Chapel Hill, N.C.; John Turner and his wife, Patti, of Boone, N.C.; Jeff Turner and his wife, Anna, of Ft. Myers, FL., and Patrick Turner and his wife, Alice, of Cary, N.C.; many nieces, nephews and extended family of McBrayers, Turners, and Halls.
Charlie was born in Shelby, N.C., March 19, 1949, the oldest of six children. From the beginning he has always looked out for his family and has always been a constant in their lives. Charlie was always a determined goal-setter. Once he set his goal, he worked tirelessly and with great willpower to achieve it. He became an Eagle Scout while still in junior high. He was first chair trombone at Grimsley High School in Greensboro. He wanted to buy a car when he turned 16, and worked every Saturday at a gas station for 14 hours a day throughout high school to pay for it. His dream was to graduate from N.C. State University, and he worked many jobs to pay his way including working in the cafeteria at St. Marys College and selling cheese at Hickory Farms.
While at N.C. State, he fell in love with fellow student Jeanne Turner. Within six months they were engaged, and were married on May 19, 1971 while they were still college students. Taking turns finishing their degrees, Charlie achieved his goal, graduating with a degree in economics in 1973. Immediately following graduation, he was offered a job in the Business Office at N.C. State in Raleigh, where he worked as Director of Student Loans and then Director of Payroll and Benefits. While serving in those positions, he drew on his love of all things electronic and technology- related, and led teams developing and installing software programs back in the days when it was done on keypunch cards and floppy disks. While he was still employed at N.C. State, he wanted to buy a ski boat, since he was an excellent slalom skier. He purchased and ran a laundromat as a second business to reach that goal, and the family enjoyed many happy days on Lake Gaston, Falls Lake, and Jordan Lake. He also played trombone in The Little German Band, performing at the Faculty Club in Raleigh, and many Octoberfests. He and Jeanne even traveled with the band to Germany and Austria in 1976. After fifteen years at the NCSU Business Office, Charlie decided to work in the private sector as a financial advisor. He passed the Series 7 exam on the first attempt, and for the next 27 years worked as a stockbroker with Prudential Investments, then Wachovia Securities, and finally Wells Fargo Advisors as his company changed its identity over the years. It was quite a gamble to start a new career in his forties with a school-teacher wife paying the bills and two young sons at home. Again, with great determination, Charlie enjoyed success, and was much loved by his co-workers and many of his clients, who became good friends as well.
In 1996 Charlie fulfilled another lifetime goal of becoming a private pilot, and enjoyed recreationally flying rented Cessnas. Another goal was to own a place in Ashe County, N.C., where he had been deer hunting with his brother-in-law Kenny, and camping together with the two families since the early 1970’s. Kenny and Katy generously shared some of their land, and he and Jeanne built a log cabin garage apartment in 2006. Later they sold their house in Wake Forest, N.C., moved to a rental house in Raleigh, and built their log cabin home.
In 2015 Charlie was faced with the biggest challenge of his life when diagnosed with a terminal disease of metastatic prostate cancer that had already spread throughout his bones. He immediately set to work to try to beat this prognosis, drastically changing his diet and habits, submitting to all recommended treatments. He and Jeanne renewed their faith in God, which was probably the biggest blessing to come of facing the battle with cancer. Charlie found out about many men who had been successfully treated at Dattoli Cancer Center in Sarasota, Florida. A short time later, Charlie and Jeanne began staying for many months at a time in Florida, where he underwent a total of 145 days of radiation over the next three years. During his first two sessions, they very gratefully lived with Jeanne’s brother Jeff and his wife Anna in Ft. Myers, and left before dawn for the daily 90-mile trip to Sarasota. After the first seven months of treatment, he was in what was hoped to be permanent remission, but a year later his cancer had returned and spread to more places in his bones. He and Jeanne moved permanently to their mountain home, fulfilling his dream, and making two more extended trips to Sarasota. Finally they had done all they could for him there, and he was treated by Dr. Tate and then Dr. Boyd at the Ashe Oncology Center at Ashe Memorial Hospital. He and Jeanne could not say enough good things about the staff at the infusion center and cancer center and all of the staff at Ashe, only 11 miles from home and with a very loving and caring environment. Despite all his treatment, his cancer continued to progress to his liver, brain, and more places in his bones. After spending more than a month in Winston-Salem at Baptist Hospital in August and September of this year, Charlie came home to the mountains under Hospice care. He died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on October 10, 2019. Charlie’s family was of greatest importance to him, and he loved nothing better than spending time with his sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and the McBrayer, Turner, and Hall relatives who all loved him as a family patriarch.
For many years, he and Jeanne hosted a family Christmas party for all the Turners at their home in Wake Forest, where Charlie would either fry or smoke a couple of turkeys. He was also an expert at cooking a pig, and hosted many pig-pickings for family, friends, and even for his clients at his annual team functions. He loved nature, the mountains, and the beach. Every year he and Jeanne spent a week at Sunset Beach or Ocean Isle with all of the children, grandchildren, and assorted McBrayer and Turner relatives. He had a great love for music of many genres, from country and bluegrass to rock and roll to classical. On their many commutes from Raleigh to Laurel Springs, he would play his Ascent CD with a playlist of music that inspired him from Andrea Bocelli to Alabama. For the past seven years or so, he and Jeanne attended all four days of Merlefest in North Wilkesboro along with good friends.
The family would like to thank all of Charlie’s doctors, nurses, technicians, and staff members who have cared for him, especially Dr. Kurtz, Dr Boyd, and Dr. Dattoli, the staff of doctors and nurses at Ashe Memorial, Sarasota Memorial, and Baptist Hospitals, and the wonderful caregivers at Medi-Home Health and Hospice.
Services were held Monday, October 14, at Jefferson United Methodist Church, 115 E. Main Street, Jefferson, NC, 28640, with visitation from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m., followed by funeral service with the Rev. David Lawrence presiding. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer memorial donations to The V Foundation, (Victory Over Cancer), www.v.org; Samaritans Purse, samaratanspurse.org, or the Jefferson United Methodist Church Food Pantry Fund, 115 E. Main St., Jefferson, NC 28640, or the charity of your choice.
Words of remembrance or condolence may be viewed or sent to the family through our website www.badgerfuneralhome.com Badger Funeral Home of West Jefferson, NC was entrusted with Mr. McBrayers arrangements.