Happy Birthday! / Trena Nesler (Mom) Today is March 12, Brandon you would have been 24 today. There isn't a moment that goes by that I still don't think of you Brandon. I just think of all the fun we had together; your sweet smile; your mischievous laugh; and the bright future you had with Stephanie.
I saw you're murderers last week in court. They had no right to do this to you or to us and they will ultimately pay, but that does not take any of the pain away. I wish the people who say they think of you all the time would post something here, that would help with the pain. Instead there is only silence.
Happy Birthday Brandon! I love you. Love, Mom
I Know Your Pain / Kathy Black (visitor) To Brandon's family,i am so sorry for the lose of your son,i too loss my son Nathan on his 21st birthday,he was found in a bank parking lot after leaving a neighborhood bar with a stranger.I just started a memorial site for Nate ,and was reading some others ,somehow i was led here and found some many things on Brandon's site that reminded me of my own son,like the caption under his baseball picture,about picking dandalions,that made me laugh,my son did the same.Also going to movies and out to dinner,my son Nathan and i did all those things together,he was my best friend.My heart breaks,and although i never was able to meet your son ,him and you,and your family will be in my prayers....Kathy,Nate's mom
So Sorry / Jane Jones (another grieving mom ) Mothers of murdered sons are in a class of their own. You are right it is a different feeling when you know someone has planned and plotted to kill your child. The evil people in this world are everywhere. I am so sorry for your loss. I too am the mother of a murdered son who was 19. I know and share your pain. May you have the strength to seek justice for Brandon. God Bless You. Jane Jones mother of William Matthew "Matt" Jones www.matt-jones.memory-of.com
Missing Brandon / Carol Murphy (Aunt) Hi! I just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you all over the holidays. We miss Brandon too, and his death is still hard to believe, it all seems like a bad dream. I know we did not see any of you very much, but blood runs deep and we always were kept informed about what was happening with Brandon. I hope your pain lessens with time, Brandon will never leave our family. Love, Carol
Angel Mom's condolences (memories of Beech Mountain) / Harriet Conn (Angel Mom ) My husband and myself read about Brandon & his fiance' (forgive me for not remembering her name) experience in North Carolina. Perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not, but we are going to Beech Mountain on Dec. 26th. We have owned a home in Beech Mountain for over 2 years now.I do know Fred's Merchantile - have been these umteen times.We have been there in the winter, the summer, Thanksgiving & Christmas and in October for Octobertfest.Last time I was there was July, 2005. She describes "The Emerald City" which I have never been to - have heard about it but just never made it up there. Sounds kind of spooky with the thinning air and what it does to you. When the fog rolls in it can be quite eary and trecherous.
My son was killed on May 13, 2005 in a car accident. I just wanted to say that losing a child is the worst thing that could ever happen. I am not the same person I was and never will be that person. I am forever changed. Going back to Beech Mountain in the winter is going to be very difficult without my son. So many memories of the snow and the thrill of the holiday season. Being from South Florida we don't get to see the snow and feel the cold weather. My sincere condolences to your family and his fiance.
New member of the family / Merrilee Renfroe (Mother-in-Law to be ) I first met Brandon on 4th of July 2004. Stephanie brought him to the house for the family barbeque. As a mother looking over a new man her daughter brings home, I have to watch how he treats my daughter. I can say he passed the test with flying colors. I could tell right away he adored Stephanie and was more than willing to be my friend as well. He had a great sense of humor and fit so well in our family. He was here for Thanksgiving last year and we will miss him this year at the table with us. I don't think there will ever be a time during the holidays that we don't think of Brandon. Thank you Brandon for enriching Stephanie's life. My husband and I would have loved to have you for a son-in-law.
Trip to the Mountains / Stephanie Renfroe (Finacee') October 31, 2005
This time last year we were heading back from a wonderful trip to the mountains of North Carolina. I wanted to share some of the trip with you guys...starting with the cabin. It was a beautiful, log cabin set against a back drop of a national reserve. It was an isolated place (which was nice during the day but made it pretty spooky at night). There were no curtains on the windows and, at night, you couldn't see out. This freaked Brandon out a little bit. So, around day number three, we decided to hang blankets over some of the windows. This helped relieve our ‘peeping tom’ worries. We had a great deal of fun exploring the surrounding area (i.e., Boone, blowing rock, Beech Mountain, and Linville). One day we ventured to Beech Mountain and stopped at Fred's General Store. This was the only store on Beech so it offered quite a montage of "necessities". We noticed a lot of The Wizard of Oz memorabilia so Brandon asked the cashier about the rumored 'Land of Oz' theme park. The attendant picked up on Brandon's excitement (like that was difficult) and drew a map to help us find it. There were a lot of twists and turns but the park was set upon the very pinnacle of Beech Mountain. The city there is even named "Emerald City". There is even real estate available there. Wouldn't it be cool to live in Emerald city? Well, we were able to park right at ‘the gate to the Emerald City' and we walked right in through the wizard's door. It was a magical experience for both of us. Brandon had just bought a really nice camera and took some great pictures while we were there. I hope to get these pictures back soon so everyone can enjoy them. At first, we thought the low-lying clouds and inclement weather would work against us but it ended up adding to the whole experience. (We'll post the pictures when we get them). Another interesting story involved our inability to speak. Brandon and I always engaged in deep thought – dissecting situations, people, ideas, etc. Well, we started talking about the conundrum of tripping over our own words. It finally dawned on us that we were having difficulty speaking because of the thinner air. (Obviously, this was worse after we had had a few drinks.) Basically, thinner air contains less oxygen therefore you have to breathe quicker, or so we surmised. Well, once we decided that is was due to the altitude we tried to make adjustments by taking over exaggerated, intentional deep breaths made before and after our sentences. Though it didn’t prove very effective, we thought this was rather humorous. On a final note, Brandon convinced me that is was essential to bring the PS2. He said that it would double as a DVD player. Later on I realized I was duped. Every day I awoke to the sounds of either the PS2 or cartoons. (They had satellite at the cabin so the cartoon network was available and viewed frequently during our trip). On top of that the PS2 was lacking in the DVD picture department. Every movie we put in was really dark and picture was difficult to see. But it was still the first experience I had watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. In December, when, obliviously, we were all still in shock, I remember humming “Jack’s Lament”. I don’t know if it was to bring some sort of reality to what had happened or to take me away to that wonderful trip … but it made me cry… it made me feel something. I still miss him, I will always love him and I’ve kept a journal of these events as well as others so as not to forget the little things. It’s the little things that matter.
Best Friend Smile / Rosalina Pierschke (Friend) Everytime a bell rings an angel get his wings...
On December 18th, 2004, God thought it was time for you to get your wings. You deserve them and now no one can take them away.
We are blessed to have known you. Thank you for making my best friend's heart smile.
"...and we'll all float on okay"...Modest Mouse
Eternal Peace / Brad Mason (Friend) To Brandon,
On the two occasions we had the opportunity to meet; I came away from our introductions with a profound sense of happiness, for I was able to eperience first hand the positive effect you had (and continue to have) on those around you. I was priviledged to witness the joy you brought to my dear friend Stephanie, and as a consequence, to my wife Jennifer. As for myself, I feel it was a true pleasure to see your face light up whenever I would bring up the subject of video games, or something else of interest to you. It was an honor to have you in our lives, if even for the briefest of moments. I regret that we will never get to play that game of GTA, but I feel a sense of relief in knowing that your spirit lives on in those whose lives you graced. I wish you eternal peace.
Brad H. Mason
Brandon made me laugh / John Edgar (Friend) Brandon made me laugh, pure and simple. His wit, charm and charisma will defiantly be how I remember him. I can’t even begin to imagine how his family must feel having had such a wonderful guy taken away. My thoughts and prayers are with all close to him.
Original/ Gretchen Hoekenga (Aunt) Dear Trena and Stephanie: I don’t know many stories about Brandon. We didn’t really hang together much since he grew up and our mom and dad (his grandparents) are gone. When he was little, at family gatherings he was plucky, witty and sometimes downright annoying! He always asked a lot of questions and often wasn’t satisfied with the ‘adult answer’ he got. He would proceed to make up his own interpretation, often slightly offbeat, cynical and very funny. I think he might be the original “out of the box” thinker.
As a growing young man, he was always polite and nice to his old Aunt Gretch (maybe a touch patronizing) but in a friendly, plucky way. We have not seen too much of one another in recent years, but I will forever cherish the brief time we got to spend together as a family, at Colette and Damon’s wedding in April 2004. I have a photograph from the rehearsal dinner where I am grabbing his arm to keep him there and Chris snapped the picture. His cousins corrupted his innocence at that wedding. They introduced him to mixed drinks, kept him up until the wee hours of the morning and made him a participant in pulling pranks on the bride and groom after they went to their room.
Then there was the trip to the airport. A group of us gathered at Collett and Damon’s to share rides to the airport. Brandon was first to go and he was traveling alone. His ride pulls up and it is a great big black stretch limousine. The driver puts it in park and opens the passenger door and there are disco light strings in there and it looks like a Las Vegas nightclub. We are all silent at first, Brandon is surprised and confused. It suddenly dawns on him that this car is his and only his ride to the airport. He says, “Uncle Bill, is that for me?” He looked so cool, like some kind of rock star with his long black coat, spiky hair and big chunky monster shoes. I bet when that car pulled to the curb at O’Hare the people standing around thought he was too. That was the last time I saw him and hugged and kissed him.
Trena and Stephanie, I want you to know that I think of Brandon and you every day. I carry you all in my heart. He was just a baby, and it is so unfair that his life was taken from him and from all of us who wanted to watch him grow into a man. I hope for both of you that the pain and anger of this terrible loss will lessen over time and some day you will be able to remember just the good and loving times you had with Brandon. I know that he is with you both and looking in on you and being all plucky and funny. I don’t know how to close these thoughts, I just wish it weren’t so…Take care.
Thank you / Jennifer Mason Brandon,
I didn't get to tell you when you were alive but thank you for having made my friend very happy. Steph was glowing when she was with you and I hope you still get to see how her face lights up when she talks about you.I also have been watching family guy ritually just make sure I don't miss anything Stewie.Miss you and think of you often, esp on sunday nights! Jen
Truest Friend / Tabitha Klein (Friend) June 16, 2005
I recently started an online journal and one of my thoughts was to write it to Brandon, telling about whatever day or event I was posting about. This idea brought me back to this guest book which I have been checking infrequently for updates. I have sitting on my computer a few save notepad files of post I started for this guest book and could never bring myself to finish. I think everyday "Brandon would love that." and still have the urge to call him at crazy hours to get him excited about a big event going on in the gaming world. Brandon can be thought of as nothing else but the truest friend a person could have. I miss him very baddly and wish that so much time had not been wasted. ADAAT is still a source of a lot of happy memories for me, Brandon being the only person to ever get me -happily- in front of a camera. Only six months into the year and it feels like eternity. I miss you so much Brandon and I wish you the best. Steph, family and friends... My best wishes and prayers are with you.
Thinking of You / David &. Dona Hoekenga (Aunt & Uncle ) Everyone in this part of the family was thinking of Brandon two weeks ago when we went to Colorado Springs for Hilary's graduation. He would have enjoyed sitting on the grass with all nine of us. The speaker was a doc who wrote for Law and Order so he spoke well. However, Brandon would have enjoyed a trip we took on Saturday even more. We Drove to the top of Pike's Peak. From 14,000 feet we could look across the planes at 20 snow capped peaks. On the way back we stopped at the North Pole, a kids amusement park. Brandon would have liked this best, squealing kids and nauseous adults. Thinking of you Brandon. Uncle Dave & Aunt Dona
Grateful/ Britta Hoekenga (Cousin) I was going through pictures yesterday and came across a couple of candids from Damen and Colette's wedding last April. There were some cute ones of Brandon and it reminded me how grateful I am that we had the chance to see each other there. I was so impressed with the sweet, handsome, kind young man that Brandon had grown into. I feel lucky to have known him and proud to be his cousin. ~britta
Happy anniversary / Stephanie Renfroe (Finacee') May 11, 2005
Happy anniversary Brandon. I miss you and everyday has been harder. Brandon was very romantic. One day, in celebration of the day we met, he "stole" my car from work and filled it with fresh flowers. He had put a CD in the player and wrote 'play me' on a sticky note. It was Led Zeppelin's 'Thank You'. That was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. It was little things like that that won my heart. Brandon, there will never be anyone like you. You were one of a kind and I was blessed to have you in my life. You'll always be in my heart. Love always, Steph
Quirks/ Stephanie Renfroe (Finacee') Everyone that knew Brandon knew of his quirks. I'd like to share a few of them with you:
1. He couldn't watch anyone brush their teeth. Sometimes I would purposefully exaggerate my brushing abilities just to make him laugh. He honestly could not watch it was the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for him.
2. Brandon loved music. He played it a lot. Whenever we would leave the apartment to go anywhere he would turn up the volume. I would ask why he would even leave it on let alone turn it up, but he insisted. It was almost as if he wanted to entertain the emptiness. (Now his mother has a better idea of why the electricity bill was so high.)
3. Crazy hats. Brandon loved them. When we went to the mountains for vacation last October he had to wear his knitted pac-man hat. It would be 70 degrees outside and he would be wearing this hat. His army helmet was another favorite. One day he asked me to put it on just so he could take a picture. He wanted me to wear it all day. That wasn't going to happen.
4. One of my favorite quirky things about Brandon was his tickle laugh. I would tickle him just to hear this laugh. It was unlike any other laugh he made. It was this high-pitched, nasally, closed-mouthed, shrilly type laugh. Most of the time I was the one laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.
He loved to laugh and he did it as often as he could. I miss his laugh. I miss so many things about him. Gladly, most of the memories of him bring a smile to my face. For everyone that knew and loved him I hope this entry brought a smile to your face. For those that didn't know him well I hope this gives you a glimpse of the wonderful person we had the opportunity to know. We love you very much Brandon and you'll always be with me in the little quirky ways.
Happy Birthday! / Donnie Tracey (Friend) B,
Happy Birthday! I hope it is going well for you. Man so much has been going on since I talked to you last. There is a new heroclic set out. It's a new DC set and man it's got some powerhouse figures in it. The Darkstalkers comic is cool, but a little slow to sell. I saw this awesome Street Fighter aniversary controler at EB the other day. It's HUGE! I miss you bud and hope to see you when I get there.
Good Guy / Desiree Lauzon (Friend) I didn't really want to post just because I felt I had alot of stories to tell and to just one is hard. I knew Brandon way back from middle school, but was reintroduced to him though an internet site. I have a very bad habit of cleaning other people's houses when I feel nervious, and one day I found myself doing this at Brandon's. I can't tell you how funny this turned out to be. I learned that it is possible for clothes to become so hard they stand up on thier own , and that he has a million hats (each of which he tried on and danced around with). I think we started around 4pm when I came home from teaching and it lasted til about 2am. The walk though closet actually had a floor and I think we got rid of 3 pieces of furniture before we were done. I hadn't laughed like that in a very long time. Though I hadn't talked to Brandon in a few months I still remember many nights that I laughed till it hurt and slowly learning that there are still some good guys left out in the world.
Thanksgiving Day / John &. Virginia Davis (Friend) Dear Brandon,
We felt drawn to you the first time we met that Thanksgiving Day. And, as we talked, we knew that we would enjoy learning from each other. Our conversation varied from politics to education to talent. We even reflected and laughed at the foolish things we did in the past. Then you became serious and said, "I was young then but now I know what I want to accomplish in life."
When we saw each other a few days later we invited you and Stephanie to Christmas Dinner. We knew that we wanted to be friends for a long time to come. We wanted so much to know how you gained your sensitivity at such a young age and how you became the intelligent and caring individual that you are.
We have known you for too short a time, Brandon, but we take solace in the fact that God has these answers. We take comfort that God has a bigger job for you--that you have successfully completed your mission here on this earth plain, and that now your talents and good deeds are needed elsewhere.
Please, always know that our Warm and Caring thoughts are with you, and your loved ones.
With deepest affection to our dear friends Ron and Trena,