Richard Paul McBrayer was born May 28, 1944 in Parkston to Charles Preston and Martha Mae (Meyer) McBrayer. Rich attended Worthen # 2 country school through the 8th grade, then graduated from Ethan High School in May 1962. While in high school, Rich participated in football, basketball, track, school plays and softball. Rich played American Legion baseball for five summers. Rich was selected as an Alternate to the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy during his high school senior year, however, due to a birth defect was unable to advance beyond the initial medical procedure process.
Rich enlisted in the United States Army on August 3, 1962 in Sioux Falls and received basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. He received his Honorable Discharge on May 2, 1965, from the United States Army with the rank of Specialist 5, E-5.
On September 1, 1964 he married Bonnie Jane Kummer at Dimock. Rich and Bonnie returned to the family farm after his discharge from the Army in May of 1965. In the fall of 1995 Rich, along with six other individuals, formed Representative Payee Services, Inc. (RPS, a non-profit corporation for the distribution of public assistance benefits to individuals in need of the type of assistance available). Rich continued his leadership and employment with RPS until the time of his death.
Rich became a member of the American Legion Post 261 in Ethan, where he served as his home Post 261 Commander three terms in 1974, 1975 and 1976, District 6 Vice Commander 1976 to 1978, District 6 Commander 1978 to 1980, District 6 Membership Chairman 1976 to 1978, State Vice Commander 1983, and was elected the First Vietnam Era State Commander for the Department of South Dakota in June 1989. Rich served a four-year term on the South Dakota American Legion Administrative Committee, plus five years on the Executive Committee, and currently serves as Chairman of the South Dakota American Legion Education Loan Committee.
Rich was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, life member of the VFW Post 2750, Mitchell, SD and 40 & 8 Voiture 773, Watertown, SD. He served several years as a member of the Ethan Community Fire Protection Corporation, and was a member of the Ethan Fire Department for several years. In 2008, after reorganization by the Ethan Fire District, Rich was asked again to serve on the Board of Directors and served as president of the board from 2009 until the time of his death. Rich also belonged to the Ethan Trail Riders. Rich and his family volunteered at Thanksgiving and Christmas to help serve meals and gifts to the less fortunate at the Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls, SD for many years.
Rich enjoyed the outdoors, especially hunting, fishing and camping with his wife, children, grandchildren, and neighbors. Rich rarely missed the local high school sporting events; including the Bridgewater/Emery/Ethan Seahawks football games, Ethan Rustlers boys and girls basketball games, girls volleyball, as well as other sporting events and extra-curricular activities. Rich enjoyed watching his favorite college and professional football teams: the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Minnesota Vikings. Stopping at the local coffee shop for a cup of coffee and a pinochle game were also among Rich’s enjoyments. Rich was often seen around the community with his best buddy, Skipper, beside him. Rich was very proud of his children and grandchildren and their accomplishments in life. Rich was a great husband, father and grandfather and will be missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife, Bonnie, two daughters: Lisa Bell, Gering, NE; Paula Nurnberg, Watertown; daughter-in-law and son-in-law, Paula and Dan Schmidt, Ethan; seven grandchildren: Keaton Bell, Alex and Kala Nurnberg, Chase and Cody McBrayer and Tia and Tayla Schmidt, one great grandchild, Millie (Nurnberg) Good, one sister, Goldie Lorang and numerous nieces and nephews. Rich was preceded in death by his son, Casey, grandson, Blake, sister, Charlotte Roth, an infant sister and brothers, Melvin and Charles Jr.