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If You Knew My Brother

By:  Michele Brown

If you knew my brother, I\’ve no doubt he made a lasting impression.  He had that effect on people.  You knew a man who was kind, compassionate, smart, talented, and funny.  He was the type of person you never forgot.  He was humble, selfless and was a shining example of a servant leader.

If you knew my brother, you knew that he loved God above all else and spent his life serving the Lord.   He was dedicated to his church and was the music minister for over 25 years.  He also was a deacon and a Sunday school teacher and never missed an opportunity to help others learn about Jesus.  He lived his life according to God\’s word and his faith never wavered, not even for a moment.

If you knew my brother, you knew he also loved his family.  He honored his father and his mother and was the best big brother a girl could ever have.  When our dad passed away suddenly in 2011, my brother moved in with our mother the next day to help care for her as she had been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer\’s and required around-the-clock assistance.  He sacrificed so much but he never complained.  He was with her every day, lovingly attending to her every need until she passed away in 2014.

 

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If you knew my brother, you knew he was one of the hardest working men around.  He owned and operated the family nursery and landscape business and worked tirelessly.  No matter how many hours the job might require, he never sidestepped other responsibilities with his church, his home, and his family.  And it never mattered how tired he might be if someone called him and needed his help, he did so without hesitation.

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If you knew my brother, you knew he loved music.  He was blessed with a beautiful voice and a natural gift for singing.  But his love of music extended beyond just singing and he learned to play trombone, eventually becoming a member of the Marching 100 at the University of Kentucky while he was a student there.   He wanted others to love music as much as he did and during his years as the music minister at his church, he convinced a little country choir that they were good enough to learn and perform Handel\’s The Messiah.  He also spent many years as a member of the Lexington Singers which afforded him the opportunity to perform with the group when they traveled abroad.

If you knew my brother, you knew he was a man who was slow to anger and chose his words carefully.  He was generous to a fault, often giving to others even when doing so meant he had to do without.  He offered grace and forgiveness freely even to those who were not kind to him.   He firmly believed in treating others as he wished to be treated even when that was not reciprocated.

If you knew my brother, you knew he appreciated the beauty of nature.  A gifted landscape architect, he was the principal designer and builder of Yuko-en on the Elkhorn, the official Kentucky-Japan Friendship Garden in Georgetown, Kentucky.   He spent countless hours learning the rules of designing a Japanese stroll garden and applied them to this magnificent project.   Besides numerous commercial projects, he also did residential landscaping as well and received rave reviews from his clients.   He understood the beauty of nature that God created and while he couldn\’t replicate it, he gave it his best shot.

If you knew my brother, you knew he appreciated the simple things in life.  He didn\’t need anything fancy to be happy.  He enjoyed taking scenic drives, long hikes, and watching sunsets.   Taking the dogs for a walk on the back of his farm was another simple pleasure that gave him joy.  And music.  Always music.  Whether it was listening to a favorite CD or going to hear a gospel choir sing or perhaps just sitting at home and strumming his guitar, music always took him to his happy place.

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If you knew my brother, you would understand why I spent so much of my life trying to be like him.  To have his patience, his faith, and his wisdom was an almost impossible goal, but I tried.  Most of all, I wanted him to be proud of me as I was of him.  Perhaps it was because of my endless pursuit to be like him that I almost missed the fact that he already was proud of me.  That fact came to light when he was first hospitalized in early January.  I had stopped by to visit him for a while before I headed to Rupp Arena to cover the Texas A&M game for Cameron Mills Radio.  A nurse came into the room to change his IV bag and while she was getting all the tubes switched over, he asked her if she was a UK fan, to which she replied with an enthusiastic \”Yes!\”  He then said, \”I want you to meet my sister.  She gets to sit with the media and cover the games for Cameron Mills.\”  The pride in his voice as he said those words washed over me and filled me with such happiness.  I realized then that it wasn\’t so much what I was doing as it was the fact that I was living out my dream and he was proud I had pursued it.

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If you knew my brother, then you can understand why his death less than 2 months after receiving his cancer diagnosis totally rocked my world.  You would know how very much I miss him and how the void he left can never be filled.  You would know that when he received his diagnosis, it was his desire to face his disease with grace and dignity, never questioning why it happened to him.  You would know he believed it with all of his heart when he said, \”God has a purpose.\”

If you knew my brother, then you would know how fitting it was that we donated his corneas after his death.  Two young men had their vision restored because of that gift and my brother would have been honored that he was able to provide that for them.  You would also find it appropriate that my brother\’s favorite hymn of all time was \”Be Thou My Vision.\”

If you didn\’t know my brother, then I hope after reading these words you\’ve grown to know him just a little and that you can understand why I say the world was a much more beautiful place with him in it.  Most of all, I hope after learning about him that you would say, \”I really wish I had known your brother.\”

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In Loving Memory of

Jeffrey Lee Singer

April 7, 1958 – March 6, 2018

 

Michele Brown
Michele Brown
Writer at CameronMillsRadio.com since Feb. 2015 Co-host of Big Blue Views podcast. Mom, Christian, sports junkie, golf addict and speed typist. I can cook your mama's food better than she can.

20 Comments

  1. Jon Borie says:

    Now I feel as if I did know your brother. Amazing tribute.

  2. John Huang says:

    Beautifully written, fantastic tribute. Your brother’s legacy lives on through your writings. “They will be like oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

    • Michele Brown says:

      Thank you so much, John. What a beautiful scripture and so very fitting for Jeff. Thanks again, my friend.

  3. Hank Webb says:

    You made me cry. I didn’t meet Jeff face to face, but I knew him because I’ve known his sibling embodiment for forty years. We’ve had similar family losses over the past year or two. I’m grieving with you and for you. I miss you and love you my dear friend.

    • Michele Brown says:

      Hank, you’ve rendered me speechless. Such touching words from such a dear, dear friend. Much love to you!

  4. Sherri says:

    Tears streaming…It’s almost like I knew your brother…because he sounds so much like my brother. I used to believe I have the best brother in the world…and still do. But I have no doubt that you did too. We are both forever changed by having the best we could possibly imagine…and I can’t imagine my life without him. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I hope as time passes, some of the loss you feel subsides and the happy outweighs the sad.

    • Michele Brown says:

      Thank you so much for the very kind and thoughtful words. I so look forward to the day when the happy outweighs the sad, but that seems so far away right now. Blessings to you!

  5. Ann Anderson says:

    That was just beautiful. Your brother reminds me a lot like my father. I wish I had known your brother. May he rest and now walk in peace with no more pain. I pray that GOD and your brother be the comforter that you cling to as you heal this void.

  6. David Moore says:

    So well written, Michelle. I played guitar and sang in a quartet while in college. Being a fraternity brother of Jeff’s, I can vouch for his talent and his passion for all forms of music. He would come get me to hear a new musical number he had heard and had to share with someone. I know he arranged for us to sing at one of his church’s services at least two times. I brought Jeff home to our Western Kentucky farm twice. I remember how amazed he was that our land down here was so flat, relative to the Stamping Ground terrain. He enjoyed his friendships and worked to cultivate those friendships with everyone he met. While we are all saddened by his passing and our own personal loss, Jeff’s life deserves to be celebrated for the passion he showed and the talents he shared. He will remain in our hearts for many years to come!

    • Michele Brown says:

      Thank you, David. His love for his AGR brothers never left him. It is comforting to know how much he was respected and loved.

  7. Dana says:

    Well spoken that was your brother. Beautiful Michelle. I was proud to have known him.

  8. Carole Leaverton Graves. says:

    Absolutely beautiful tribute to your brother . I too feel as if I knew him. I am so sorry for your loss. Were you a friend of Rhonda Caylor?

  9. JL Roig says:

    Michele -;What a beautiful and loving tribute to an amazing man. I really wish I had known your brother.

    • Michele Brown says:

      Thanks so much, Jane. If I left you with that feeling, then my mission was accomplished. Thanks for reading.

  10. Linda says:

    I was blessed to know your brother early….when he was still in high school. I did not get to stay close or as in touch as I now wish I could have.
    However, seems to me he followed in his mother’s and father’s footsteps. I’m blessed to have known you and your family.

  11. Linda Young says:

    I was blessed to know your brother early….when he was still in high school. I did not get to stay close or as in touch as I now wish I could have.
    However, seems to me he followed in his mother’s and father’s footsteps. I’m blessed to have known you and your family.

    • Michele Brown says:

      Your family will always hold a special place in my heart. After all, your dad was the pastor who baptized me. Those kinds of things stick with you!

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