June Brinkley Obituary

As I wake on the morning of Christmas Eve 2020- not unlike any other of any of my 50 years of Christmas Eve’s in my life. I think back to all that is important. I am up early- before anyone in my house. As a child- I would be the first awake… I would make my way to one of my favorite places in the world- the patio of my grandmother’s house. I wasn’t allowed to call her that, though. She was far too young to be a grandmother she always said….She preferred Nana. This Christmas is different, it’s the first I wake without Nana, we said goodbye to her on December 22, 2020. She died peacefully with family as close to her as we could get in this Covid world. She was loved, here is a bit of her story.

June LeMaster Brinkley (June Bug)
She was born on June 21, 1924 in Henderson, Kentucky to Walter and Ruie Lemaster. She was one of six children five girls and a boy named Blue – Opal, Genevieve, Blue, Mary, June & Shirley- Southern born on the banks of the Ohio River.

She lived there until 1956 when she moved to Chicago. She married the love of her life William Brinkley (Bill). He was an Army officer and they traveled the world while they had a family….they had six children. Lea Russell, Brenda Jones (Jay), Bruce Brinkley, Brian Brinkley, Jonny Brinkley, & Mary Beth Briscoe (Bobby).
She has eight grandchildren- Michele Coffey, Scott Jones, Heather Brinkley, Justice Brinkley, Harrison Slaton, Allison Slaton, Dale Russell & Rob Russell….and great grandchildren- Jacob Coffey, Jaylyn Coffey, Maddie Brinkley, Tripp Von Eberstein, Chloe Brinkley, Megan Cramer, and Colton Jones.
She traveled as an Army wife and adapted at each station. She made friends and learned new cultures. She shared the most stories about Germany. She loved her Hummel collection from there. She had great taste- her favorite color was blue- you knew that from the moment you saw her. Her stunning blue eyes would catch your gaze- and throughout her home you would find so many great pieces reflecting their color from the front sitting room couches that held many guests to her locally famous blue glass bottles that lined the bay windows welcoming guests for years to the Fernway Drive house.
She was an amazing host. She cooked. It was common for the kitchen to be a mess when I arrived- but I always knew there would be something amazing on the stove. I would call her often for recipes and cooking advice. In case you didn’t, her roast secret was a can of Coke-a-Cola for tenderizer….pure genius.
She hosted many Officer’s wives parties over the years throughout Bill’s career retiring at Auburn.
Once they moved to Montgomery, they were the original owners of “The Pub”. It was part of the Montgomery Mall in the late 70’s and had the World’s Best Crab Claws.
She loved time at the Woodley Country Club…around the pool, tennis courts or golf course- she shared many hours with friends and family. She also loved bridge, if you were invited to meet the bridge friends at the house- it was quite an experience.
She was an active member of The Holy Comforter Church. And the Garden Club…she could bring back a plant from near death. She adored African violets and had a garden second to none on her back patio that was a sanctuary for her for many years including a fountain piece that many gathered around. And if she found a frog or tree frog on that patio- well she was just delighted!
She loved Auburn football. She loved going to the beach and preferred Destin, FL to anywhere in the world. She was a huge animal lover which she passed down to her children. Siamese cats in particular- she collected them, too. But, her very favorite thing in the world would have to be babies- she really liked babies. The chubbier, the better- she adored them and would hold them for hours just rocking them and humming. She hummed a lot. The most frequently hummed songs were Frank Sinatra. I, Michele, was in my 20’s before I realized that I knew many of his songs from her hums. I became a lifelong fan. She also loved clothes and had great taste there as well. I remember many days of trying on clothes and fashion shows.
But, back to Christmas Eve….if I were 9 again- about now- she would be waking. She would make a cup of coffee and we would sneak out to the back patio. Just she & I would go out there. We wouldn’t talk much- just pass the time together until the bottom of her first cup. We would begin to plan the day and the meals. She would make sure the store bought gingerbread house was on the island and chances are- one of the Siamese cats would be licking the icing on it by noon! The ribbon candy would be out on the counter and the mixed nuts.
We would put the roast in by noon. Peeling the vegetables all day…and prepping the rest. We would pull in chairs from everywhere including the carport as everyone would come. Wine would be poured. And as family arrived and dinner served- Nana was very happy with a house full. After dinner, dominos would appear and stories told. The train would pass by- by the 11 o’clock one- Mary & I would have to sleep on the pull out sofa bed in the den. Santa would fill our stockings- and every Christmas Eve- just like this one- the Brinkley tradition continues of German gummy bears that filled our stockings. Nana made sure we had the very best ever year….a tradition that should continue.
I just tucked them into my children’s stockings- be sure not to tell them it was me.
A celebration of life will be planned later in 2021 and a Committal Service will be done with the family in the coming weeks. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to Church of the Holy Comforter in her honor.
2911 Woodley Rd.
Montgomery, AL 36111

See Also:  The City against the 'Gerrard effect'

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.