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October 15, 1933 - May 19, 2014 OKLAHOMA CITY James Robert "Bob" Brotherton, age 80, died May 19, 2014. The eldest of eight children, Bob was born to Robert Layton Brotherton (d. 1996) and Doris Geraldine North Brotherton (d. 2009) on October 15, 1933 in Hagarville, Arkansas. Bob moved with his parents to Oklahoma and lived here most of his life, attending schools in Blanchard and Oklahoma City and was in the Capitol Hill High School, Class of 1952. He and the former Shirley Hurst eloped on May 23, 1952, while both were still teenagers. His lifelong automotive career started at about age 2 or 3 when he took a hammer and knocked out the headlights of his dad's car. He served in the U.S. Military from 1954-1956 and his mechanics expertise was utilized when he was put in charge of the Motor Pool at Beale Air Force Base, Marysville, California and at Norton AFB in San Bernardino, California. He was rated an expert with the M-1 on the firing range and a member of the Honor Guard. He completed his military duty with the rank of E-5. Upon his return to Oklahoma, he again was employed by Oklahoma Engine and he was known to change as many as five engines in a single day. His love of cars was not limited to his occupation but was his favorite sport as well as hobby. He built several race cars which ran at Taft Stadium and Oklahoma State Fairgrounds Speedway where his drivers were well-known top contenders Carl Ferguson, Aaron Madden, Bob Eichor and Mike Peters, for whom he did the engine work for the Championship 1979 season. He also served as President of the Oklahoma Racing Association for eight years. Bob was always willing to help fellow race car mechanics knowing that it would make the competition closer/harder but he considered it as good sportsmanship and the right thing to do; after all, it was for fun, as well as showing skills in the stock car sport. He was a member of the United States Model A Club of America and was quite proud of his 1931 Town Car Sedan. His knowledge of engines didn't end with cars. He had his private pilot's license and enjoyed flying his 180 Cherokee and 1982 Cessna, along with visiting with other pilots and friends at the Downtown Air Park. After working at several locations, four of them on South Agnew, he wound up with his father (Brotherton & Son), then when brother Ronnie (d. 2003) joined them, it became Brotherton Automotive. During the early 1980s, he had the rare opportunity to embark on a new career when he was asked to oversee and supervise the building of two projects, Quail Ridge Apts. in NW OKC and White Horse in Yukon, OK. So he and his brother Ronnie temporarily closed the automotive shop then when the projects were completed it was back to the automotive field again. Man nor beast went hungry if Bob knew it. On more than one occasion, he sent people to Roundup Cafe to get something to eat and said for them to say, "Bob sent me." Nor was it uncommon for him to take groceries to those in need. He was a very good-hearted, generous person who never met an animal he didn't like and as a result always had some around both at home and his shop; even his neighbors' pets would come to visit him and enjoy petting and a treat. Bob's most valuable treasures were his two precious grandchildren, grandson born on his PaPa's birthday, Robert Matthew Brotherton and his granddaughter, Dana Lauren Brotherton. He enjoyed watching their baseball, softball and basketball games through the years and hardly ever missed a game. Matthew & Dana's teammates were the lucky players who could count on getting special treats. He never let them down. Bob was preceded in death by his son, Jay Brotherton; parents, Robert L. & Doris Brotherton; grandparents, Robert & Frankie Brotherton, James & Dilla North; brothers, Ronald Dean & Randall (Randy); and sister, Wanda Louise McLaughlin. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Shirley of the home; son, Mark & wife Nity of OKC; two grandchildren, Matthew & Dana; one great granddaughter, Taytum; 2 brothers and sisters-in-law, Fred & wife, Reba of Wayne, OK, David & wife, Lynne of OKC; 2 sisters and brothers-in-law, Pam & Roy Vinyard, Dawn & Steve Gray; and Howard McLaughlin, all of OKC; 2 aunts, Peggy Brotherton of Tulsa, OK and Imogene Brotherton of OKC; many nieces, nephews and cousins too numerous to mention, friends and his beloved pets, all whom will sorely miss him. Viewing will be 4-8 PM Thursday with family greeting friends from 6-8 PM at Vondel Smith & Son Mortuary, S. Western. Service will be held 10:00 AM Friday, May 23, 2014, at the South Colonial Chapel with burial following at Sunny Lane Cem. Friends may leave condolences at vondelsmithmortuary.com vondelsmithmortuary.com
Published in The Oklahoman on May 22, 2014
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