Longtime Williamsburg businessman Gary “Mr. B” Braden is being remembered as a man, who loved children and animals.
Braden, 73, who owned Mr. B’s Screen Printing on Main Street, passed away Thursday, March 12, at his home.
“Another icon of Williamsburg has left us to be in Heaven. Mr. B. was the town greeter, our smile, our friendly handshake, that approachable citizen sitting on the town bench outside of his business,” Williamsburg City Councilwoman Laurel Jeffries West wrote on Facebook. “I can’t remember not knowing him … Williamsburg has lost a piece of ‘Home.’”
Braden was born on June 4, 1946, in Holly Hill in neighboring McCreary County.
After he graduated in 1964, Braden opened a discount store in Jellico. After he left that business, he opened Mr. B’s Screen Printing sometime in the 1980s, recalled his sister, Dorena Neece.
The store was initially located in the mall, but later moved to Main Street.
Neece said she never did hear her brother say why he chose to get into that business, but it was something that he enjoyed doing. Many times he would deliver finished items to his customers.
“He really enjoyed putting a smile on people’s faces. They would come over and sit with him on his bench,” Neece noted.
She said that several parents at Braden’s funeral noted that he frequently had little poppers on his fingers, which made noise and entertained children.
“He loved all children and he loved dogs. All little dogs just loved him,” Neece noted.
Funeral services took place Sunday, March 15, at Ellison Funeral Home with Rev. Rob Powers officiating. Internment followed in the Highland Park Cemetery Davis Addition.
“He entertained people and just tried to put a smile on their face, and make them feel better than maybe they otherwise would,” Neece added.