Boyd Early "Smokey" Braden, III, 65, of King George County passed away Sunday, March 10, 2019 at his home, surrounded by loved ones. A native and lifelong resident of King George, Smokey's broad smile, easy humor, and kindness enriched the lives of those he met, befriended, cared for, and cherished. He and his wife, Shirley Perry Braden, built a life filled with good people, good times, and adventure. Smokey graduated from King George High School in 1972 and accepted a track and field scholarship to Campbell College in Buies Creek, N.C., where he earned a B.S. in Psychology. At Campbell, Smokey's success in track was matched by his success in building enduring friendships. Smokey had his first date with Shirley on March 5, 1977. He had bribed Shirley with a carnation, pistachios, and Nestle's Quik to go dancing with him. Five years later, they got married on his parents' anniversary at their historic home Litchfield. June would have marked Smokey and Shirley's 37th wedding anniversary. Bo joined the family in 1988 and Smokey was intent on teaching him all the important lessons of life, easily passing them on by example. Smokey embodied Southern hospitality. Wherever he lived or worked, he acted as a one-man Welcome Wagon, introducing himself and making newcomers feel at home. He extended his hand in friendship and in service. A good old boy in the best sense of the word, he not only offered warmth and conversation but hard work during hard times. He was the friend and neighbor who showed up with a toolbox, a load of wood, a leaf blower, a chainsaw, or a shovel-ready to lend a hand, literally. Smokey and Shirley hosted many gatherings over the years, inviting people from near and far, welcoming friends at the door, taking coats, pouring drinks, offering food, and inviting guests to dance. Smokey was a King George original, who worked for the county in inspections including as building official before spending 25 years as a warehouse wizard of sorts at Birchwood Power Plant. He was also proud to be appointed to the Virginia Manufactured Housing Board by Governor Wilder and served two terms. Smokey was also a member of Oakland Baptist Church and delighted in playing in the handbell choir there for many years. A nature lover, he and Shirley created a home nestled in the woods overlooking Lake Madison in Presidential Lakes. Smokey not only laid hardwood flooring in his own cozy, cabin home but in the homes of many members of the community. He, Shirley, and their son, Bo, spent countless weekends camping on a piece of property they acquired in the Shenandoah Valley that fronted the Shenandoah River that they named Sycamore Shores. True to form, Smokey hosted guests there as well. Smokey's history and family were rooted in Virginia but his interests and hobbies took him everywhere. He enjoyed photography, motorcycle trips, sailing, live music, and other travel-usually accompanied by Shirley. Smokey had been taught to scuba dive by his father, a Navy diver. His passion for scuba took him to Aruba, Bali, Belize, Bonaire, Curacao, Little Cayman, Los Roques, the Maldives, Tobago, and many other places. He was always bringing old friends with him and acquiring new friends along the way. His heart and his home were always open. Survivors include his wife, Shirley; son Boyd Early "Bo" Braden, IV; brother and sister-in-law Brian and Kathy Braden; sister Virginia "Ginny Kaye" Braden; mother-in-law Jeannie Perry; brother-in-law and sister-in-law James and Susan Burgess; nephews Adam Burgess (Morlee) and Andrew Braden; nieces Ashley Burgess, Mary Braden, and Morgan Braden; great nephew Jackson Burgess; aunts, an uncle, many cousins, and countless friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Boyd Early "Moose" Braden, Jr. and Elizabeth Fitzgerald Braden. A memorial celebration of Smokey's life will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 17 at Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg. Pastor Justin Williams of Hillcrest United Methodist Church will officiate. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Smokey's gentle spirit extended to the animals he nurtured and rescued. Those wishing to honor his memory may consider a donation to Collie Rescue of the Carolinas, P.O. Box 1313, Kernersville, NC 27285 or Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden (parrot sanctuary), 518 Elizabeth Street, Key West, FL 33040. Online guestbook at

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