William “Bill” G. Braybrooks, age 93, went to be with the Lord on Friday, October 11, 2019, at his home in Mattawan, MI. Bill was born September 19, 1926 in Lawrence, Michigan, the son of the late Bernice (Say) and Wayne Braybrooks.
On August 23, 1947, William married Katherine “Kay” Kucinich and together they raised their seven children in a loving and caring home. He served in WWII and after graduating from Western Michigan University, he started a career in accounting and eventually owned a successful insurance agency in Kalamazoo for 42 years.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife Kay, daughter Connie (Mike) Gildea of Vicksburg, two brothers, Robert and Russell and sister Jean Doonan. Surviving members of his family include sons, Rocky (LaShon) of Kalamazoo; Will (Eileen Hodges) of Naples, Florida; Larry of Fair Oaks, California; Bob of Clarksville, Michigan; and daughters, Nancy Braybrooks of Yelm Washington and Colleen (Tom) Breitenbach of Hickory Corners, Michigan; 14 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, November 10, 2019 beginning at 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Adams Funeral Home, 502 West Michigan Ave, Paw Paw, where a Rosary service will be held at 5:30 p.m. There will be a memorial mass to follow on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at St. John Bosco Catholic Church, 23830 Front Ave, Mattawan, with Fr. Alan Jorgensen officiating. There will be a luncheon immediately following mass in the church hall. Interment will conclude at St. Mary Cemetery, Paw Paw after the luncheon. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the West Michigan Cancer Center or Chef Therapeutic Riding Center.
When reflecting on the life of Bill, it is easy to see that his biggest joy came from spending time with his family. He was a devoted husband to Kay for 70 years and loving father to his seven children.
On August 23, 1947, Bill married the love of his life, Katherine “Kay” Kucinich. Together, they raised their children in a loving and caring home. This included camping trips, the beautiful pool in the back yard, rotisserie chicken on the grill for Sunday dinner after church and preparing burgers, homemade fries and malts for birthday parties. He was there for his family when needed, all-around a wonderful father.
Drafted into the Army at age 18 in August of 1944, Bill received the Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal and American Theater Ribbon.
Bill was a committed, driven, hardworking man and as a result, his Kalamazoo insurance agency thrived for 43 years.
Bill was active in his children’s activities and events, from grooming the turf at Hackett High School football field & videotaping games for the coach where his sons played football, to years of 4-H competitions.
Bill had horse in his blood. As a high schooler in Lawrence he took classmates out for joy rides with his family farm team of draft horses and wagon. Later, as his own family grew in town, he boarded horses for the kids for many years, where he enjoyed lending a hand at the Sacket’s and Grime’s Farms/Stables near Oshtemo. He trail rode with good friends as well as driving his hackney four wheel buggy on day long excursions. He loved to see some of the kids also enjoy his love of horses. Later, as an empty nester, he discovered great satisfaction in raising and showing horses. He and Katherine loved to watch the horses be spoiled at home and in competition. Whenever out and about, he never let down his obligation to “go home and feed!”.
Bill was recognized by the American Quarter Horse and the National Reining Horse Associations as an active member and breeder for decades. Some of the horses that he bred and raised competed in events nationally and are now sprinkled throughout the country in California, Texas, and the Midwest.
We’ll always remember his dedication to and his love for each individual horse.
Bill was a strong Catholic and set a great example by dedication to weekly mass and ushering as well as his involvement in the church. He was dedicated to making sure his sons were there by 6 AM to serve as altar boys for 7 AM mass throughout the year. Financial sacrifices were made to send many of his children to Catholic schools. Bill also enjoyed fishing trips to Drummond Island with his sons and brother Bob. As well as fishing trips to Canada with coworkers and friends. Together with his wife Kay he became an avid bike rider, traveling to the Kal-Haven trail or northern Michigan for weekends of bike riding or cross-country skiing.
Bill also enjoyed annual trips to the Kentucky Derby with a camper full of friends, as well as years and years of canasta and buck buck card groups. He was a competitive Pinochle player right up until he passed.
Rest in peace Bill.
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West Michigan Cancer Center
200 North Park Street, Kalamazoo MI 49007
Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center
8450 N. 43rd St., Augusta MI 49012