On Saturday night, while checking football scores, my wife shared with me the sad news that Otis Brumby Jr. had died. Not being a Cobb County native, I did not know Mr. Brumby from the paper, his church or his local political activities. I became acquainted with him through my grandparents, the late Bill and Hazel Boyd of Rex, as he restarted The Brumby Chair Company.
As he was preparing to restart operations, Mr. Brumby contacted my grandparents, among others, to gain advice on the craft of building cane back and bottom rocking chairs. My grandparents were third-generation employees of Rex Furniture Company, a now defunct, long-time, Brumby competitor; ran a furniture repair business from their home; and had been featured on several occasions in that big city newspaper just down the road in Atlanta.
What I remember most from my grandparents was that Mr. Brumby was genuinely interested in seeking advice from those whose background included building these special chairs so that he could successfully carry-on the Brumby chair tradition.
Mr. Brumby’s private personality was reflective of his roots when Marietta was a small, rural town. His business calls on my grandparents were also social calls. If I were there during those calls, he would inquire about my studies at Georgia State, which in retrospect was reflective of his support for education. In addition, every Christmas, my grandparent would receive a Brumby family card in which he would enclose a large gift card. In 2004 and 2005, my grandparents died, and Mr. Brumby had the chair company send a floral arrangement on his and the company’s behalf.
My grandparents thought highly of Mr. and Mrs. Brumby, who would sometimes be with him on visits, and their daughter Spain, who also would come to Rex on occasional business calls, because he took the opportunity to know them on a personal level. I believe they would agree that Cobb has lost an outstanding citizen and a man who genuinely cared about the people around him. I am also sure that they were among a host of others greeting Mr. Brumby as he entered the gates of heaven.
David J. Stewart