Braxton, 17, died June 21, when a wave swept him into the Pacific Ocean while he was on a mission trip to Costa Rica. At his funeral Sunday at the New Albany Middle School gym, his friends, church members and fellow football team members remembered Braxton as a great friend and person of faith. The rising senior was a member of the New Albany High School football and track teams, the choir and step team.
“We had English together all four years. He’s one of the reasons I passed the class,” said his friend Tanner Watson, garnering a few chuckles from the crowd. “When I didn’t know what to write about, he’d tell me, ‘You’ve got to get this in; you’ve got to pass. I ain’t going to sit in there by myself.’”
Watson said he’d miss his friend.
“He was my best friend, and a good friend at that,” he said.
The First United Methodist Church Youth Choir and the New Albany High School Chorus sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and Karl Capaning, a member of Braxton’s youth group, spoke of Braxton’s love for singing.
“If he wasn’t there, the choir didn’t function like it usually did,” Capaning said. “(Singing) made him happy, and seeing and hearing him sing made everyone else happy as well.”
Braxton’s friend and classmate Taylor Watson remembered Braxton’s passion for life.
“Marshuan was a driven, passionate young man,” he said. “Whatever walls stood in front of him didn’t last long.”
Friend Bobby Coltharp echoed Watson.
“He was the greatest person I’ve ever known in my life, by far,” Coltharp said.
Braxton’s grandmother, Elnora Howell, remembered her grandson as a devout Christian.
“He was a true missionary for God. He was so excited to go on this mission, to serve god in a foreign country,” she said. “Brother Marshuan would want us to smile. Regardless how heavy my heart is, I’m going to smile for him.”
Braxton’s aunt, Vera Braxton, wrote a poem in memory of her nephew, which was included on the back of the program.
“You have touched so many, so many hearts; And we know it was your time to part,” a portion of the poem reads. “We love you, miss you and want you here with us/God knows best, so there’s no reason to fuss.”