SARASOTA - Mr. R. Branden Dykes, 34, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 in North Port, FL. Branden was born Feb. 12, 1982 in Lakeland, FL and moved to Sarasota in 2012 from Blairsville, GA. A 2001 graduate of Union County High School in Blairsville, GA, Branden was an outstanding football athlete and received a scholarship for his talents to Shorter College in Rome, GA, where he was noted in the top one hundred athletes in the state of Georgia. During this time, he was also given a special honor, and was voted to the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Branden loved sports and he had a passion for helping younger children grow with their own various sporting talents. He gave of his time serving as a little league baseball coach, assisted in coaching a youth league, and mentored young athletes in both baseball and basketball.
Branden was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Donald Dykes; maternal great-grandparents, George and Haughty Neely, Sr.; paternal great-grandparents, Andrew and Mary Pinter; his Mamaw and Papaw, and his step-paternal grandfather, Ferral Mallory.
He is survived by his companion, Samantha Riccio, Sarasota, FL; daughter, Jordan Swanson, Blairsville, GA; mother, Blenda Ray, Sarasota, FL; father, Raymond M. Dykes and step-mother, Colleen Dykes, Lakeland, FL; brother, Travis Dykes and wife Kathryn, Sarasota, FL; step-brothers, Nick Knowles and wife Carla, Atlanta, GA, Jayme Knowles, Lakeland, FL; step-sister, Kristen Grimmel and husband Brent, Orlando, FL; maternal grandmother, Marilyn "Granny" Gittens and husband Mike, Blairsville, GA; maternal grandfather, Doug Ray and wife Phyllis, Fort Meade, FL; paternal grandmother, Carolyn Mallory, Lakeland, FL; step-paternal grandmother, Martha Dykes, Fort Meade, FL; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitation will be held 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016 at Hancock Funeral Home, 945 E. Broadway, Fort Meade. Funeral services will follow at 11:00 a.m. in the funeral home chapel with Rev. Bill Whitener officiating. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Meade.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing, may make donations to the family for assistance with funeral expenses.
Hancock Funeral Home, Fort Meade, FL 863-285-8171