2018-01-26 / Society

Eugene L. Brantley

Father, philanthropist, entrepreneur, author, lawyer, and friend, Eugene L. Brantley, 84, of Columbia, died Thursday, January 18, 2018. Born March 3, 1933 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he was the son of the late John Walter Brantley Sr. and Pearl Marie Burnette Brantley.

Mr. Brantley graduated from Chester High School (1950), The University of South Carolina (1954), and as undergrad served in the ROTC program and was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. After graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force Reserve and successfully completed flight school, flying B29 and KC-97 refueling taker aircraft with the Strategic Air Command.

He was recalled into active duty in 1961 during the Berlin Airlift with the South Carolina Air National Guard and served until his retirement in October 1976 at the rank of Lt. Colonel.

He graduated from USC School of Law in 1965. In law school, he was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity, the Wig and Robe Scholastic Society, The Law Review Editorial Board, and received the American Jurisprudence Award in Taxation.

Mr. Brantley practiced bridge construction law for 23 years in Columbia and was president and owner of the law firm Brantley, Jackson & Peace. He was also of counsel to the law firm Tyler, Cassell, Jackson, Peace & Silver.

During his practice, he was author of the book Corporate

Employee Retirement: The Economic Tax Aspects of Qualified Pension, Profit- Sharing, and Stock Bonus Plan, 16 SC Law Rev 481, and State Highway Claims, the Dilemma of Highway and Bridge Contractors, 1971. In addition, he served as American Arbitration Association charter member, and as an arbitrator for the Construction Industry College of Construction Arbitrators.

Mr. Brantley was an active member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, holding positions of vice president of the Board of Directors, and vice chairman of the Legislative Action Committee. In 1968, under his guidance and supervision, the chamber overwhelmingly approved over 28 pieces of legislation.

In 1981, during one of the worst economic periods since the early depression, Mr. Brantley bought Carolina Ceramics, Inc. In 1982, he established an employee incentive compensation plan and made contributions to the corporate profit sharing plan every year he operated the company. His corporate benefits philosophy was “our program would be better than anyone in the industry”, and he constantly monitored local and national competitors to adjust his programs and keep his employees at the forefront of industry standards.

Over 50 percent of his employees worked with him for 18 years or more during his tenure; he was very proud of them and enjoyed rewarding and celebrating their accomplishments.

Under his leadership the business contributed to major architectural projects across the United States including: The West-chase Office building in Charlotte; The Novate and The Dag Hammarskjold Square, United Nations buildings in NYC; Allentown Corporate

Plaza in Pennsylvania; Westinghouse Electric and Embassy Suites buildings in Baltimore; The Hilton Hotel in New Jersey; the Kalamazoo YWCA in Michigan; The Richland School District II, Orangeburg County Hospital, and The Charleston Museum buildings in SC.

Mr. Brantley retired in 1991 to devote more time to his many community service activities in the Columbia area. He was an Eagle Scout and served as the chairman of the Advancement Committee and Eagle Board of Review for the capital district of the council. He was vice president and president of the Columbia Sertoma Club and received the Distinguished Presidents Award (1973), Distinguished Governor Awards (1973-75), and Atlantic Region “Seterornan-of-the-Year” (1976-77).

He also volunteered for the Richland County March of Dimes, United Fund, Past Crusade chairman. He was director and president of the Richland County Chapter of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Board Chairman for the South Carolina Division of the ACS.

He was also captain of the Carolina Children’s Home fundraising drive. In addition, he supported the Ballentine Civic Association, Post 15 B-25 Memorial Corporation, America Heart Association, United Way, Palmetto Society, John Fling Ministries, Providence Hospital Foundation, Epworth Children’s Home and the Spring Valley Education Foundation where he helped establish a ceramics shop at Spring Valley High School. He also served as Admiral of the Irmo Navy.

Mr. Brantley was passionate about hunting and shag dancing. He maintained hunting preserves of deer, quail, dove and turkey. He established a substantial game management and environmentally protective mining program in 1985 and was named Small Business Person of the Year in 1988 by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce for his efforts.

At the young age of 12 his family started spending every summer at Ocean Drive (now North Myrtle Beach), and this is where on an outside pavilion with a nickel juke box he became an avid shagger. He was a two term president of the Columbia Shag Club, and he was inducted into the Central South Carolina Shag Wall of Fame. OD remained a very important part of his life.

A devoted Christian, he was a member of Salem United Methodist Church where he was an usher, member of church council, a lay leader and speaker, and coordinator of the Church on the Lake evangelism committee.

One of his greatest accomplishments was being a father and the many amazing trips, experiences, and laughs he had with his children and family. He is survived by his children: Dennis Eugene Brantley Sr. (Paula), Camarie Brantley Young (Patrick), Linda Moore and Robin Whaley; his grandchildren: Degen, Gordon, and Hardin Brantley; Pearl and Campbell Young; and Justin Swindler. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Jo Lowe and brother, John Walter Brantley, II.

On Monday, January 22, 2018, a graveside military service was held at 3:00 p.m. at Fort Jackson National Cemetery. In addition at 6:00 p.m. there was a memorial service at Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, 7600 Trenholm Road Extension, Columbia.

The family received friends immediately following the service and welcomed guest to any or all of the services. Honorary pallbearers were John W. Brantley III, David Counts, Olney England, Hoyt Ross, Todd Lackey, Degen Brantley, Gordon Brantley, and Hardin Brantley.

In lieu of flowers, the family request donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas, 66675, or the Children’s Miracle Network, 205 West 700 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84101.

He spent many nights writing poetry often inspired by his relationship with Christ and the memories with family and friends. [“My mother taught me that the only things that are truly important in life are family and friends. Fortunately for me, I have been able to live by that credo, and I want to thank all of you for being my friends”. Gene Brantley (May 14, 2008)]

Memories and condolences may be shared at ShivesFuneralHome.com.

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