We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at McMillan-Small Funeral Home & Crematory
Our beloved Weldon Cecil Brandon Jr. of Myrtle Beach S.C. age 91 went to be with his Lord and Savior on May 21, 2021. He passed peacefully at home while surrounded by his family.
Born in Oxford N.C. on November 5, 1929, Cecil grew up in Winston Salem NC. He was the son of Mattie Lou Moseley Brandon and W. Cecil Brandon Sr. who both preceded him in death as did his sister Sarah Brandon Simpson.
He is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Evelyn Sawyer Brandon, daughters Beverly Nichols (Robert) and Donna Dellinger (Jay), sons Scott Brandon (Lisa) and Donnie Todd (Sarah), grandchildren Dalton Dellinger (Lauren), Madeleine Stoneman (Grayson), Donnie Todd, Ellison Todd, Robert Todd, Hunter Brandon (Lawson), Haywood Brandon and Haley Brandon.
He attended Reynold’s High School in Winston Salem N.C. and Davidson College where he lettered in Golf and Football. After college, he entered the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant and served as an Army Infantry Intelligence officer in the Korean War. After returning from the war, Cecil began his professional career selling insurance. He soon transitioned to a job with Wachovia Bank in Charlotte. At the age of 29, he left his banking career and moved to Myrtle Beach armed with a camera and a dream. Cecil was a passionate photographer and he started taking scenic photographs that he would make into postcards and sell to local gift shops and hotels. Over time, hotels began to ask him to take pictures for them and make brochures and soon they began asking him to make ads for magazines and newspapers. Cecil’s little postcard company would grow to become the largest independently-owned advertising agency in the Carolinas.
Often described as a visionary, Cecil saw the potential for Myrtle Beach to become a year-round destination and in 1967, along with several friends and supporters, he convinced eight area golf courses and ten hotels to come together and agree to market Myrtle Beach as a golf destination. The idea was based on the simple premise of making it easy on the consumer to plan and book a golf vacation to Myrtle Beach. The organization, collectively known as Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday would grow to become the preeminent cooperative golf marketing organization in the world. Cecil would serve as Golf Holiday’s Executive Director for over 30 years. Cecil also played a pivotal role in procuring the Senior PGA Tour Championship to Myrtle Beach in 1993 where it was held consecutively for six years.
In 1972, Cecil was asked by his friend Clay Brittain to become a founding member of the Myrtle Beach National Company where he served on its board of directors for 49 years. Cecil had a strong friendship with the late Arnold Palmer dating back to their golf playing days at Davidson and Wake Forest and Cecil convinced Arnold to design four signature courses for The Myrtle Beach National Company. The original complex, known as Myrtle Beach National, was the area’s first multi-course facility. The Myrtle Beach National Company would grow to successfully own and operate multiple golf courses and hotels across the southeast.
In 1974, Cecil became a founding organizer of The Anchor Bank in Myrtle Beach and served on its board of directors until 2000.
In 1982, the World’s Fair was scheduled to be held in Knoxville TN. Cecil had the idea that Myrtle Beach should have an exhibit. At the time, only countries were allowed to host exhibits. Known for his persistence and never taking “no” for an answer, Cecil single-handedly convinced the World’s Fair organizers to change their rules and he raised $350,000 from the local community to fund the exhibit. This is often credited as a pivotal point in Myrtle Beach becoming a year-round resort destination.
Hurricane Hugo devastated the Myrtle Beach area in 1989. Cecil immediately sprung into action and gathered area business leaders to form the Myrtle Beach Area Recovery Council which raised over $5 million to successfully promote that Myrtle Beach was back, open, and ready for business.
Cecil saw the potential for the Internet to grow and become the way vacationers planned and booked travel so in 1995 he joined several partners to form Interactive Frontiers Group a website development company that would eventually become Fuel Interactive, South Carolina’s first digital advertising agency and the first company to develop a real-time guest-facing booking engine software solution for independent hotels.
In addition to Cecil’s many professional accomplishments, his true passions were his family, golf, hunting and his friends. He was an accomplished golfer and won the club championship at both The Dunes Golf & Beach Club and Pine Lakes International Country Club. He was a member of Royal Dornoch in Scotland and after retiring from his agency business in 1999 he joined Blowing Rock Country Club where he built a second residence and spent every summer.
An avid wing shooter, Cecil loved to hunt quail and spent many days in the quail woods from the coastal pine forests of the Carolinas to the brush country of South Texas. He also loved to hunt ducks and fish for big winter trout in the salt marshes of coastal South Carolina.
Cecil has been privileged to hold many other offices including President of the Myrtle Beach Junior Chamber of Commerce; the Board of Directors of the Greater Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce; President of Myrtle Beach Elementary Parent Teachers Association; President of the Dunes Beach & Golf Club; Chairman of the first Dunes Club Member-Guest Tournament; Co-Chair of the Knoxville World’s Fair Myrtle Beach Exhibit; the Congressional Tourism Advisory Caucus Board; Board of Directors of COMBO; Co-Chair of the Hurricane Hugo Economic Recovery Fund; Chair of the Area Recovery Council; member of the Executive Committee of the Myrtle Beach National Company, and an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church.
Cecil has also been awarded the 1980-81 Coastal Academy Parent of the Year Award; the 1982 South Carolina Tourism Award; 1985 American Advertising Federation Silver Medal for lifetime achievement: 1994 Myrtle Beach Citizen of the Year Award; 1995 Jason Ammons Free Enterprise Award; 1996 South Carolina Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award; the 1996 Order of the Palmetto Award (the state of South Carolina’s highest award it can bestow one of its citizens); in 1996 The State Newspaper selected Cecil as one of the top 25 most influential figures in South Carolina’s Sports History; the 1996 Habitat for Humanity Award; in 1997 former Vice-President Dan Quayle presented Cecil the Palmetto Patriot Award; inducted into the Carolina’s Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame in 2009 ; and the 2003 Jimmy D’Angelo Golf Writers of America award.
A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church Myrtle Beach on Tuesday May 25th at 2:00 pm followed by a reception at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club. The funeral will be live streamed on the church’s website at https://www.myrtlebeachpresbyterianchurch.org/
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made to Davidson College in the name of the W. Cecil Brandon Jr. golf scholarship or to The First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach.
Arrangements are being managed by McMillan-Small Funeral Home.
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