Community mourns ‘Daddy Bud’

Published 10:54 am Monday, February 14, 2011

Bud Brantley, right, and son, Frank Brantley III, pose for a photo outside their tire store in Monroeville.|Submitted Photo

At his Monroe County tire shop, his employees affectionately referred to William Frank “Bud” Brantley Jr. as “Daddy Bud.”’

Brantley, owner of Brantley’s Tire, Inc. in Monroeville and a longtime Atmore resident, passed away Thursday afternoon at a Fairhope hospital following a lengthy illness caused by complication from pneumonia. He was 81.

The news of Brantley’s death quickly spread throughout town as family, friends and customers emailed and updated Facebook with the somber report.

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One of those friends, David Gehman, wrote that one of the icon “Brantley Boys” has passed. He also recalled Brantley as a caring businessman.

“I grew up my first 10 years a block away from the Brantley’s Tire shop,” Gehman said. “We would always get inner-tubes from the Brantleys to go float down ‘Sardine’ creek (now Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve). Of course, my dad always got his tire work there. They were always very busy too…especially on Saturday mornings.”

One of Gehman’s fondest memories came during his time working at the local radio station and the support Brantley gave to the community.

“I remember working at WATM when I was a teenager after school in the evenings and on weekends,” he said. “I will never forget coming into the station on Saturday mornings and Mr. Tom Miniard was doing the ‘Eddie Arnold and Chuck Wagon Gang’ show, and Brantley’s Tires was a sponsor. Tom would read the ads live and one time he repeated each of the brother’s names several times…they definitely got exposure from WATM.”

William “Frank” Brantley Sr., father of “The Brantley Boys” started Brantley’s Tire in August 1953, and later passed the business down to his five sons, Bud, the oldest; Charles, Robert Earl, Harlan and Joe. In 1993, Joe, the youngest son, bought out his brothers in Atmore, but Bud kept the Monroeville store, and operated it up until his illness sidelined him in September 2010.

His wife of 57 years, Bessie Brantley, stayed by her husband’s side during his illness and spoke of how loved her husband was throughout both the Atmore and Monroeville communities.

“He was a loving, kind and generous father, grandfather and husband,” she said. “I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.”

The couple’s son, William “Frank” Brantley III, who is operating the family’s tire business, said his father’s kindness was evident in the way his employees treated him.

“He was better known to his employees through the years as ‘Daddy Bud,’” Frank said.

Jana Brower, the couple’s daughter, said those memories of their father’s willingness to serve others is what keeps them strong during their heartache.

“He was a gentle and kind man,” she said. “Frank and I were talking and we’ve never heard anybody talk bad about our father. He was a very generous man. We feel honored to have had a daddy like ours.”

Speedy service with a smile is what Gerald Kling remembers best of the beloved businessman.

“I remember the speed with which they handled each customer,” Kling whose father the late Richard Kling, owned Kling Electric Service and Maytag dealer for years located on Jack Springs Road, said. “When you pulled in one of the Brantleys was right there at your window ready to see what you needed. In my book the Brantley name is synonymous with Atmore. I’m sure there will be a great outpouring of love and support due to how many lives this family has touched over the years.”

As for the future of the Monroeville tire business, Frank Brantley said it will continue operations not only continuing to serve its customers, but also to continue his father’s legacy.

“There are three things my daddy loved to do; eat, sleep and being in the tire business,” Frank said. “He loved what he did.”

Brantley served as a cook in the Army from 1951-53 in Fort Sill, Okla. He also served for many years as treasurer at Presley Street Baptist Church.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. today, Saturday, Feb. 12 from Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Visitation will be held from 1 p.m. until service time.

For complete obituary, see page 5.