By John Peters
September 29, 2013
VALDESE – How do you say goodbye to the person who gave you life and who has always been in your life? On Saturday, September 28, 2013, the children, grandchildren, sisters, brother, other family and friends had to say goodbye to Rachel Ann Brintle McBrayer. She died at home with her children by her side. All we are left with is gratitude for having been blessed to know a woman who was intelligent, loving, kind and full of grace and dignity. She was her children’s moral compass. Her priorities in life were her service to God and her family. The memories she has left us with are oftentimes funny. She wasn’t above sending the Coast Guard after a wayward child floating along the seashore, or sending police to the door of a child at college who hadn’t called home lately. Any of her children who thought they could play sick to stay home from school quickly learned there was no fooling her. She rarely met a stranger and if you were a friend, you were a friend always. She loved babies, planting flowers, sewing, music and teaching. Rachel was born Jan. 31, 1928 in White Plains, the oldest of six children and the daughter of the late Mary Kate and Charles Brintle. She was a graduate of White Plains High School and a 1950 graduate of Appalachian State Teachers College, where she met her husband. She taught at Montreat College in Black Mountain before moving with her husband to Burke County. Rachel taught at Hildebran High School and Valdese High School before leaving teaching to be a full-time homemaker in 1960. She eventually went back to teaching and retired in 2001 from Heritage Middle School. In addition to her parents, Rachel was preceded in death by her husband, Charles McBrayer Jr.; son, Michael McBrayer; and brother, Thomas Brintle. Rachel is survived by her children, Kathy Hildebran and husband, Michael, of Connelly Springs; David McBrayer of San Francisco, Calif.; Sheila Zagata and husband, Ed, of Guam; Sarah McBrayer of Hickory; and Sharon McBrayer of Valdese. She also is survived by three grandchildren, Christopher McBrayer and wife, Suzanne, of Chapin, S.C.; Casey McBrayer of Morganton; and Aubrey Zagata of San Francisco, Calif.; Great-grandchildren, Andrea Hicks, Ava and Isabella McBrayer and Fletcher McBrayer; Sisters, Mary Lou Link of Salisbury, Cinnie Sue Cobbler of Mount Airy and Frances Bolick and husband, Ben, of White Plains; Brother, Charles Brintle and wife, Blanche, of Mount Airy; Sister-in-law, Elfreta Frady and husband, Worth, of Fairview; and numerous nephews and nieces. We are grateful to all of her caregivers throughout the years, particularly Blaka Abee and Tamara Phillips, and to Hospice of Burke County. A Celebration of life service will be held at 4 p.m., Monday, September 30, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center. A private graveside service will be held at Cane Creek Cemetery, Fairview, NC. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Hospice of Burke County, 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690. Condolences may be made online at www.sossomanfuneralservice.com.