In Memoriam: William D. Brinton – September 19, 1952 to June 19, 2017

In Memoriam:  William D. Brinton – September 19, 1952 to June 19, 2017
Bill Brinton

The country lost a real champion when William “Billboard Buster” Brinton of Avondale passed away at age 64 after a brief but fierce battle with lung cancer.

Just a month prior, 300 friends, family, colleagues and clients had gathered to pay tribute to Brinton for his decades-long efforts in helping many cities across the United States develop local legislation to remove outdoor advertising from their highways and byways.

Many of those same admirers – and then some – show up for his funeral service on June 22 at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. More than 350 gathered to hear Father Jose Kulathinal, pastor at St. Matthew’s, and long-time friend and colleague Graham Allen celebrate Brinton’s life.

“When I was thinking about what to say, reading all the articles about Bill, I said to myself, ‘Jose, you would be here for at least two hours,’” said Kulathinal, who also related that Brinton’s wife of 36 years, Kathy, said she wanted Bill to be remembered as a man of simplicity, integrity, and who always asked, “What can I do to help?”

Brinton fought for the helpless, was a voice of the voiceless, and was generous with everything he had, said Kulathinal. “He wanted to live, to love, to learn…and to leave a legacy.”

The legacy he left behind includes the establishment of the Scenic Jacksonville Endowment to Protect and Enhance Scenic Beauty in Jacksonville. The endowment, held at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, will eventually provide perpetual funding for civic engagement, advocacy and education.

During his eulogy, Allen, who met Brinton in 1976, noted that all of Brinton’s awards would not fit in his office, but “he was proudest of his family. They were truly his life.”

Allen also recalled Brinton as a staunch friend and ally who had others’ backs, even while so many people had Brinton’s back for many years in his fight against major billboard advertising companies. “You don’t do what he did, accomplished what he accomplished and take on what he took on without people shooting at you right and left. He was fearless.”

“It was a wonderful ride, old friend. Rest in peace and I’ll see you on the other side,” concluded Allen.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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