Donald "Gus" McBrayer

Donald "Gus" McBrayer


February 12, 1943 - January 8, 2022


Donald “Gus” McBrayer, 78, of Ethan, SD, died Saturday, January 8, 2022, at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 AM Thursday, January 13, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchell. Burial will be at Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery in Ethan. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 PM Wednesday, at Holy Family with a 6:30 PM scripture service. Masks are requested at the funeral services. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

A live stream of the funeral service may be viewed at:

Donald “Gus” LeRoy McBrayer Jr. was born February 12, 1943, to Donald and Janette (Lambertz) McBrayer in Mitchell, SD. Gus was raised and attended school in Ethan. During high school, Gus worked at the Ethan Cheese Factory. On April 24, 1962, Gus was united in marriage to Joan Murray. Together they started farming and milking cows. Later, Gus worked for Davison County, operating the road grader until he retired in November of 2009.

Gus loved his family, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and never missed a chance to spend time with them. He enjoyed playing volleyball in his younger years, playing cards his entire life, and showing all the kids how tough he was by flexing his muscles. Gus loved spending time in the field, hunting and fishing with his boys and grandkids.

Grateful for sharing Gus’s life is his wife, Joan; sons, Donnie (Bev) of Ethan, Jeff (Kathy) of Sioux Falls, and Brian (Michelle) of Ethan; daughter, Vicki (Dave) of Ethan; 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren; and siblings, Jim (Kay) McBrayer, Jack McBrayer, Rose Oberembt, Daniel (Sharon) McBrayer, Peggy (Mike) Stoduto, Mike (Charleen) McBrayer, and Joyce (James) Roth.

He was preceded in death by his son, Dennis “Red” McBrayer; his parents; brother, Pat; sister, Patricia in infancy; brothers-in-law, Robert Oberembt and Javern Hofer; sisters-in-law, Judy Waldera and Mona McBrayer.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
6:30 PM Scripture Service

Holy Family Catholic Church
222 N Kimball St
Mitchell, SD 57301


Thursday, January 13, 2022
10:30 AM
Holy Family Catholic Church
222 N Kimball St
Mitchell, SD 57301


Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery
Ethan, SD

Posted by Dave & Jane Barz. on January 19, 2022
Gus was a great guy. In our early days with little kids we often stopped at their home. It was filled with their kids and ours. Such hospitality! Always a great big smile and warm greeting. Our sympathies to the entire family on the loss of Red also.
Posted by Garrett McBrayer on January 13, 2022
My Uncle Gus was a giant of a man. Well, at least he was to me. To seven-year-old me, my Uncle was a superhero. His feats of strength, whether witnessed or self-reported by Gus with perhaps a hint of embellishment, amazed me. As I grew older, I realized that his real superpower was not his strength, but in his gift to connect with other people. He was such a great man. I am so thankful that I got to spend some time with him a few years back on our way out west.

My deepest sympathies to Aunt Joan, Jeff, Brian, Donnie, Vicki, their families, and to the countless other family and friends who cherished their time with Gus.
Posted by Ernie Hohn on January 13, 2022
We had a lot of discussions at E&E
Posted by Sharon and Dan McBrayer on January 13, 2022
Words cannot express how sorry we are for the losses you’ve had these last few weeks. We will miss Gus and Red and can’t imagine what it will be like without them when we next get to visit. Wish we could share all the wonderful memories with you today. Love to all the family.
Posted by Bob Clark on January 12, 2022
I was talking to my cousin, Deana Hargreaves today and she informed me about Gus. I always enjoyed our High School double dates when I was dating Jackie. I would also like to extend my condolences for your son, Dennis. Losing 2 family members in 5 weeks ~ God is really testing you. I know you are a strong person and will handle it. My prayers are with you and your family. God Bless You !
Posted by Carol Eichten Wurm on January 12, 2022
One of my fondest memories growing up in Ethan going to school with Gus who gave me the nickname ""bitty" loved visiting with him when I came back and he showed me all the changes in good old Ethan. May he rest in peace and God bless his family.
Posted by Karen Murphy on January 12, 2022
My sincere sympathy to your family with the loss of both Red and Uncle Gus. Growing up all the nieces and nephews loved the teasing and attention given to us by our Uncle Gus making us each feel special. My kids have fond memories of him as well. I have a feeling heaven is just a little louder ❤️❤️
Posted by Ann (Eschenbaum) Aalbers on January 12, 2022
My Grandma Mary Beaner was Janette's sister. My Mom was Donna Eschenbaum from Miller. Although we are related, the only one I know is Jack. My sympathy to all of the family. All will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Posted by Jim mutziger on January 12, 2022
Deepest sympathy to the McBrayer family upon the loss of two really great friends of mine.i remember watching gus playing basketball when l was only a seventh grader.from then on he was my idol. Since then there have been years upon years of hunting,fishing and farming stories that would make you laugh until you had tears in your eyes.I also got lucky enough to enjoy hunting a few years with his son (red) . We hunted from sunrise to dark.sometimes after many memories that i will never forget.
I will sorely miss them for all the joy that they put in my life.
Posted by Mary Freeman on January 12, 2022
My sympathies to the McBrayer family on your losses. Growing up, the McBrayer house was always welcoming and a fun place to go. I fondly remember eating watermelon on their front porch with Peggy and the younger Fergen kids. What good times! Gus was also recuperating at Firesteel from a hip or knee surgery when my Dad was living so got to see him more then. He will be missed in the Ethan community and by those who knew him.
Posted by Brooke Mentele on January 12, 2022
Will always miss you Papa gus. You were one of a kind. The only Grandpa i got to grow up with!
Love you!
Posted by Haley Merritt on January 12, 2022
Growing up, we were fortunate to spent a couple weeks each summer in Ethan and out at the McBrayer family farm. Uncle Gus was always quick to greet us with a smile and a joke. Maybe a flash of his muscles. He was bigger than life, a gentle giant, a legendary story teller, and a staple in my childhood summer memories. He will be missed by many. My family here in Georgia is praying for all those who are missing Gus and for the entire McBrayer family, wherever they may live. Love to you all.
Posted by Peggy Mcbrayer Stoduto on January 12, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.
Posted by Pam Ungrad on January 11, 2022
Vicki, Alicia, Hux and the entire family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Posted by Mary E. (Baxter) Schiefen on January 11, 2022
Sorry for your loss. Prayers will be said for you and your family, Joan, and Donnie.
Posted by Mary E. (Baxter) Schiefen on January 11, 2022
Sorry for your loss. Prayers will be said for you and your family, Joan, and Donnie.
Posted by Becky Heidinger Langford on January 11, 2022
Uncle Gus was the greatest! I would spend time in the summers at his farm in Ethan. It was one of my best childhood memories. Thoughts and prayers to all his Family.
Posted by Don Heidinger jr “Dinger “ on January 11, 2022
He will be missed and never forgotten . We spent time working together and hunting together . He was a great teacher ,cousin and friend may he Rest In Peace
Posted by Marge Wagner on January 11, 2022
So sorry for your loss you have my sympathy and prayers
Posted by Larry & Dorothy Weigandt on January 11, 2022
We wish to extend our sympathy and prayers to the entire Mcbrayer Family. Gus was always friendly and had a great sense of humor. We Both enjoyed his children at Ethan School. Joan Hugs to You in losing 2 Family members in such a short time.
Posted by Justin McBrayer on January 11, 2022
When you are a kid, you use people in your life to serve as a benchmark. For me and all of my brothers, uncle Gus was always the paradigm of strength. If we were comparing muscles on people, the ultimate question was "Is he as strong as Uncle Gus?" And the answer inevitably, was no! Uncle Gus loomed large in our life, and he was the first person we wanted to visit after long road trips from Georgia to Ethan. I remember arguing with my brothers about who got to stay on the farm with Uncle Gus, and who was staying in town with Grandma and Grandpa. I'm sad that he's left this life, and I wish the best for all of our family back in South Dakota. Love you all!
Posted by Mike Mcbrayer on January 11, 2022
Gus was a fantastic brother. He never met a stranger and was always full of stories to share. He will truly be missed. Our sympathy to the whole family. Love you all.
Posted by Charles and Linda Oster on January 11, 2022
Gus will be missed. Our deepest sympathy to the McBrayer family. May he rest in peace.
Posted by Sharon (Prickett) Smith on January 11, 2022
Deepest sympathy. So many memories of our high school years. Especially the great basketball games.
Posted by Brent Parnell on January 11, 2022
My condolences to the family. He was a legend in his own time and will not be forgotten. His stories will continue to grow as we share them with our own families. So thankful to have known him and to have been able to hunt with him and get beaten by him in pinochle. With great memories, we will miss him
Posted by Lee tiede on January 11, 2022
Sorry to hear of our loss of Gus he was quite a fisherman he brought my wife some catfish one day and really big ones we enjoyed it very much and we also enjoyed us in his stories God bless the family
Posted by Lee tiede on January 11, 2022
Sorry to hear of our loss of Gus he was quite a fisherman he brought my wife some catfish one day and really big ones we enjoyed it very much and we also enjoyed us in his stories God bless the family
Posted by Sheryl Plamp on January 11, 2022
So very sorry for your loss of Gus I always love visiting with Gus at DPT His smile snd stories were so enjoyable .. I can imagine the stories that are being shared between him and Red .Hugs and prayers to you all
Posted by Lori Herman on January 11, 2022
So sorry for your loss of such a wonderful man. I first met Gus when he came into Action World Travel to book his flight to Alaska for a fishing trip. He always had a story and smile. I Peter got to.know more about him and his family with the coffee group at Daylight Donuts. We would swap fishing stories. He will be missed. I'm glad I got to see him the last time I was in mitchell. Prayers to the family
Posted by Betty and Don Nebelsick on January 10, 2022
Sorry for your loss.will keep you in our thoughts and prayers
Posted by Cindy Riddle on January 10, 2022
Many prayers for the entire family!! I met GuS at Daylight Donuts……. Several years ago, I was selling Roses 🌹 just Because. He told me he would buy some, but I would have to deliver to his wife@ Cabela’s! I said, Sure, I will do that😊 Then we met again about 4 years ago at True Fitness and he was a great guy. Many wonderful chats and I loved hearing his stories. He was very proud of his family!!! May God Bless🙏
Posted by Brenda Spier on January 10, 2022
Sorry for your loss thoughts and prayers for the family
Posted by Jackie Stoltz on January 10, 2022
So sorry for your loss 🙏
Posted by Joyce Roth on January 10, 2022
Joan, Donnie, Jeff , Brian and Vicki,
I’m so sad that I didn’t get to Ethan last week when we back to the Hills for Christmas with our kids. I’ll forever hear the ring of that booming voice hollering ‘Berf’ when I walked in the door. Sending love and sympathy across the miles, Joyce and Jim
Posted by Jenna Daley Doorn on January 10, 2022
So sorry for your loss 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
Posted by Lance McBrayer on January 10, 2022
As far as I knew, my uncle Gus was an institution in eastern South Dakota. Everyone knew him and he knew everyone. He l seemed to love all types of people and always ALWAYS had something to say to everyone. I will miss him greatly, as will all my other cousins. My deepest sympathies and condolences to my dad, my aunts and uncles, and especially Joan, Donnie, Jeff, Brian and Vicki. We will miss Red and Gus so much and we will think of you, and them, often.
Posted by Joyce Folsom on January 10, 2022
So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with the McBrayer family.
Posted by Tracy Lindeman on January 10, 2022
So sorry to the whole family in your loss with Gus and Red enjoyed both of them a lot up until the end my depressed sympathy
Posted by Joanne Schoenfelder on January 10, 2022
We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!
Posted by Dan McBrayer on January 10, 2022
What a guy! Good big brother. Many great experiences growing up on the farm. He loved people. We will cherish his memory.
Posted by Brad Moe on January 10, 2022
Sorry for your loss, "Gus was Gus, told you like it was, you didn't like it, tough!!
Posted by Harv Fridley on January 10, 2022
I was sorry to hear of Gus’s passing. He was great company and I always enjoyed our visits. He is going to be missed. Prayers for all of the family.
Posted by Bonnie Preszler on January 10, 2022
Sorry for your loss. Our prayer's and thought's are with you!
Posted by Marge Smith on January 10, 2022
So sorrow for your loss
Posted by Marilyn Hart on January 10, 2022
So, sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers
Posted by Jenny Jackson on January 10, 2022
Sorry for your loss the McBrayer family
Posted by Cindy (Fergen}Fuerst on January 10, 2022
Deepest Sympathy to the Mcbrayer family
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