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Brandon's Kids for Care & Education
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Life Story / Obituary
Brandon Stephen McIntyre—loved father, fiancé, son, grandson, and friend—lived his life with passion and energy. From his hobbies and interests to his two young children, Brandon was fully invested in whatever he was doing. Friends and family members describe him as being tough, kind, hardworking, and a prankster, but all could take a lesson in the conviction that Brandon stepped out of bed with each morning. In every sense of the term, Brandon McIntyre was unapologetically himself.
Another one of history’s most confident individuals—and arguably the greatest basketball player ever—had become a household name by the outset of the 1990-91 NBA season. Michael Jordan was a do-it-all shooting guard that scored at will and played tenacious defense, but he had yet to deliver an NBA Title to Chicago. Still, Bulls fans knew they had a superstar in the making and sensed something special about the upcoming season.
Just months before he would lead the Bulls to their first of six NBA Championships in eight years, one of Jordan’s biggest fans was born. Newlyweds John and Heidi McIntyre welcomed their first son, Brandon, into the world on April 23, 1990. The young couple lived in Portage, where John was a painting contractor and Heidi would stay home with their growing family. As an infant, Brandon could down his bottle in just minutes; his appetite was necessary to fuel his curiosity, but he never lost his enthusiasm for mealtime as the years went by.
As Brandon grew, the McIntyre family grew along with him. Brothers Nick, Alex, and Justin all followed before the end of the decade. It’s not a stretch to say that having four boys in one household fostered competition, particularly with the athleticism that John passed to his sons. Brandon played Rocket Football and baseball through the West Portage Little League, while rooting on his beloved Bulls and the Detroit Lions. His first love was baseball until a foul tip in the batting cages broke his nose one afternoon; shortly thereafter, Brandon decided to focus more of his attention on the safer sport of football.
One particular interest that Brandon and his father shared was an appreciation for fast cars. John took the boys to numerous auto shows and races, where Brandon fell in love with top fuel dragsters and NHRA events. The first time Brandon caught a whiff of nitromethane fuel it singed the boy’s nose and brought tears to his eyes, but he quickly became addicted to the smell. While most spectators enjoyed the actual races, Brandon’s favorite part of these trips were the after-hours burnout contests that many drivers held in the local hotel parking lots.
Another good chunk of Brandon’s childhood was spent at the Kalamazoo Air Museum, where his grandfather Leon volunteered for years as a docent. He enjoyed exploring the rotating exhibits with his brothers and cousins, and learning about the different airplanes and their capabilities. He accompanied his grandpa to local air shows every year to watch what, essentially, were faster cars that had the ability to fly.
Throughout high school, Brandon kept busy with numerous additional responsibilities. He worked part time at Ace Hardware and Meijer, as well as continuing his athletic career on the football field. A wide-receiver for the Mustangs, Brandon’s Portage Central teams compiled a 16-4 record and made the playoffs each year. Perhaps most importantly, they never lost to rival Portage Northern. He was also known for his extensive collection of Jordan brand shoes. He took meticulous care of the sneakers, waterproofing them every few weeks and never allowing them to get unnecessarily dirty.
A favorite family memory of Brandon’s was the trip to Disney World during his senior year of high school in 2008. Grandpa and Grandma Mastenbrook took the whole crew—thirteen in all, including his nearby aunt, uncle, and three cousins—to Florida for a week of fun. At first blush, the home of Mickey Mouse shouldn’t rank highly on Brandon’s list of vacation destinations. As with most aspects of his life, though, Brandon enjoyed “The Happiest Place on Earth” his way: sneaking out undetected with his favorite cousin Jessica to watch the nightly fireworks, riding the fastest theme park rides, and thoroughly enjoying the don’t-forget-your-appetizer-and-dessert meal plan that meant stopping to eat every few hours.
Shortly after graduation, Brandon went to work as a painting contractor alongside his father. They focused on the many new developments in the area as Portage continued to grow, offering both interior and exterior services. Although he enjoyed the adrenaline of sports and racing, the patience and touch required to paint professionally was satisfying to Brandon. This was a glimpse into his often-concealed softer side, surely a product of his mother’s influence. As her first-born, Brandon always had a special connection with Heidi; she was his confidant even into adulthood, and taught him that it was possible to be both tough and compassionate.
Brandon’s life took a new direction in late 2013 when he met a young woman named Shyann Sweet. As so often happens, the two crossed paths by happenstance one evening and instantly found a spark. They talked the night away and agreed to a date in the near future. One date became many, as Brandon and Shyann spent countless evenings together glow bowling or at K-Wings hockey games. One of the most notable dates was a Detroit Lions home football game, where Brandon was able to meet another idol of his, Calvin Johnson. After dating for a couple of years, Brandon and Shyann became engaged to be married in 2015.
That same year saw Brandon become a father—he and Shyann celebrated the birth of their daughter Mikaila one day shy of his birthday, on April 22nd of 2015. Brandon had quietly hoped for a girl throughout the pregnancy, fearing that a son would be just as stubborn and headstrong as he was. Mikaila became the center of his world from day one, and he relished every trip to the zoo and the park with her.
Brandon and Shyann were also blessed with a son, Edward (Eddie), in early 2019. Brandon quickly found that music was something that he could share with his young boy; and although it was disheartening to find that Eddie seemed to prefer country music over Daddy’s favorite rap, it was country that they would listen to on a daily basis. With both Eddie and Mikaila, Brandon tried to instill a sense of patience and thoughtfulness, forever trying to teach them from his own life lessons. His children were his entire world.
No amount of logic can justify when a young person’s life is cut short, but there is no question that Brandon McIntyre left a lasting impact on everyone he encountered. He will forever be remembered as a devoted father and loving fiancé, a treasured son and grandson, and a friend that could always be counted on. His smile was often mischievous, but his heart was pure.
And while Brandon’s ever-growing library of music certainly didn’t include any Billy Joel hits, a verse from one of the superstar’s biggest hits couldn’t be more appropriate:
"You might have heard I run with a dangerous crowd,
We ain’t too pretty, we ain’t too proud.
We might be laughing a bit too loud,
But that never hurt no one…
…you know that only the good die young."
Brandon Stephen McIntyre, of Dowagiac, age 29, passed away unexpectedly on May 31, 2019. Brandon was preceded in death by his grandfather, Leon Birmann. He is survived by his fiancée Shyann Sweet and their two children: Mikaila and Edward; his parents: John and Heidi McIntyre; 3 brothers Nick (Amber) McIntyre, Alex (Carlie) McIntyre, and Justin McIntyre; 1 niece: Allie McIntyre; his grandparents: Don (Gerda) Mastenbrook, Ann Birmann, Marcia McIntyre, and John Roelof; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Cremation has taken place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments from 5:00 – 7:00 PM on Friday, June 7th at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A prayer will be shared at 7:00 PM. Private burial will take place at a later date. Please visit Brandon’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guest book before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be directed toward Brandon’s children for the benefit of their education and care (www.PayPal.Me/mikailaedward).