Michael Wiley Brantley

August 11, 1938August 15, 2018

Michael Wiley Brantley, 80, passed away peacefully at UNC Rex Hospital, Raleigh, on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. He was predeceased by his mother, Betty Gaston Brantley, his father, Oliver Wiley Brantley, and his brother, Oliver Wiley Brantley, Jr. He is survived by two sisters, Betsy Gresham and her husband Bill and Tina Anderson and her husband Bill, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Michael was born in Troy, Alabama. He obtained his undergraduate degree and his master’s degree at the University of Alabama. After receiving a Fulbright Scholarship, he studies medieval history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Soon after, he received a PhD in European Art History from Louisiana State University.

As a professor of history at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama and at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Dr. Brantley was well admired. Michael was first and foremost a teacher. He loved teaching, especially art history, and was considered an authority in the field. His knowledge of art and history lead him to become the director of the Tryon Palace in New Bern and later the director of education of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Michael traveled extensively and because of his numerous trips to Argentina, Buenos Aires remained his favorite city. He retained a diverse collection of travel photographs for his frequent presentations.

Michael was a member of All Saints Anglican Church in Raleigh and was active in the Ancient Order of Freemasons for many years. He is a member and Past Master of Raleigh #500, James B. Green #735, and State College Lodge #770; a member of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters (under dispensation); and an honorary member of Hiram #40, Millbrook #97, William G. Hill #218, and William T. Bain #231. He was the Historian of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, a member of the Library Committee, atop his many awards and achievements, a recipient of the Joseph Montfort Metal, and quite possibly the most well-known mason in North Carolina. In his thirty-seven years as a mason, he dedicated countless hours to the edification of the craft and to benefit masonic charities.

For many years, Michael played the French horn in the brass choir at White Memorial Presbyterian Church. Even his failing eyesight could not defeat his love for music. He became the narrator and announcer for the group, which frequently performed in senior centers, churches, and nursing homes.

He was dismayed to lose his voice as a result of his surgery from throat cancer, as that was one of his attributes of which he was most proud. From lecturing students to sharing amusing stories of his travels, he had an engaging delivery that kept his audiences entertained as well as informed.

Michael will be sorely missed by his family and friends, among whom are Jack Preston, Eric Sepulveda, Mirl Austin, Justin Eldreth, Ricky Williams, Julia Herbert, Chris Carlson, Ruth and Gary Mock, John Suddath, Brad Bunn and countless others, who will remember his optimistic spirit, brilliant mind, devoted friendship, and the unwavering support he gave to anyone who asked.

Raleigh #500 will host a memorial service, which is open to the public, on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at the Masonic Temple of Raleigh located at 1520 Caswell St beginning at 2pm. Visitation begins at 11am for those who wish to pay their last respects prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, please send charitable contributions to the North Carolina Masonic Foundation, c/o the Grand Lodge of North Carolina 2921 Glenwood Ave. Raleigh, NC 27608.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC.


  • North Carolina Masonic Foundation, c/o the Grand Lodge of North Carolina


  • Visitation Prior to the Memorial Service

    Saturday, August 25, 2018

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, August 25, 2018

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, August 25, 2018


Michael Wiley Brantley

have a memory or condolence to add?


May 1, 2020

To Betsy and the entire Brantley Family:
While talking to my cousins in Birmingham the other day, I found out that Michael had died. Please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of your beloved brother and family member! I met my cousin, Michael, when I arrived at Spring Hill College in the fall of 1967. He was an excellent history professor who loved his craft! We kept in touch over the years from time-to-time! We always updated one another as to what we were doing! The obituary speaks volumes about his interesting life and his interests which he shared with others! I will offer Mass for him and the family this week! Requiescat in pace!
Much love to my cousins,
Fr. James Elliott O'Neal

Jason Feore

August 25, 2018

All who were fortunate enough to meet Michael Brantley were left better as a result . His wealth of knowledge may never be replicated. Michael loved teaching and Sharing his wisdom generously with anyone who asked. He was a firm believer in strict detention to Detail; yet a patient instructor who brought out the best in all that he encountered. He was beloved by many; and cherished by even more. He will be missed; but the passion and zeal he installed in so many like me will continue ton inspire forever. Godspeed Brother

Wayne Andrews

August 22, 2018

From our first meeting in February 1996 (Scottish Rite Reunion), Michael and I became friends. His sense of humor was always very keen and sharp; as was his intellect. Michael was always extremely kind and generous with his time an resources to me and many others. He was a great support and kindred spirit to me. Even more he was a very dear friend and brother. God bless you always Michael... Shalom Aleichem

Mel Crocker

August 17, 2018

Bro. Brantley possessed a wealth of Masonic knowledge and was always willing to share with all who expressed an interest. I treasure the times that I was fortunate enough to spend with him. What a terrific person! We have lost a true treasure and he will be missed by all who knew him.