Deacon James Harold McBrayer, Jr., passes away following illness

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Deacon James Harold McBrayer, Jr., passed away Wednesday morning, July 27, 2022, at his home in Franklin, Tennessee, following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. 

A visitation with the family will be from 7-9 p.m., with a rosary prayed at 8:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Franklin. 

A Mass of Christian Burial, celebrated by Bishop J. Mark Spalding and concelebrated by Father Ed Steiner, pastor of St. Philip, will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, at St. Philip. Interment will follow at the Deacon’s Section of Calvary Cemetery in Nashville. 

Deacon McBrayer was ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Nashville on Dec. 6, 1980, by Bishop James Niedergeses at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. He subsequently served as deacon of St. Ann Church from 1980-1990, St. Matthew Church in Franklin from 1990-1999, and the former St. Mary Villa Parish Community, assisting Msgr. George Rohling, from 1999-2001. 

“I love the Church. I have always admired the teaching capacity of the priest,” Deacon McBrayer said during his application process for the permanent diaconate. “I am a good teacher and especially fond of the workings of the Mystical Body as subject matter. Personally, the other duties of the diaconate will be very rewarding.” 

Deacon McBrayer was born on Sept. 24, 1934. As a child, he attended the former St. Agnes Elementary School and Charleston Catholic High School, both in Charleston, West Virginia. After high school, he went on to receive his Bachelor of Science and Master’s in Communications at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He then served in the United States Navy from 1960-1962 at the Millington Air Base in Millington, Tennessee.

Deacon McBrayer taught high school English, photography, and bible history with Metro Nashville Public Schools before his retirement in 1988. He also worked as production photographer for several seasons of the television show “Hee Haw” and authored several books. 

McBrayer is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Dianne McBrayer; children Helen Dement (Thomas), Melissa Howser (Hugh), James Harold McBrayer III, Doris Metz (Craig), and Adam McBrayer (Beth); grandchildren Thomas J. Dement, Alexandra Dement, Harrison Kaye, Connor Metz, Mary Frances Adamita, Miranda Metz, Aidan Metz, Cody Sloan, Marissa McBrayer and Carter McBrayer; and his great-grandchild, Michael Cassady Metz. 

Austin Funeral and Cremation Services in Brentwood is in charge of arrangements. 

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