Rayford A Prater II - “Buster”, passed away on November 3, 2021 at the age of 63. He was born May 30, 1958 in Birmingham, AL
Buster was preceded in death by his parents Bernice Gamble Prater and Rayford A Prater (‘Mama Doris Higdon Prater - stepmother). He is survived by his wife Sandy Cleary Prater and two daughters, Stephanie Locke (husband Clint, grandson Colton, granddaughter Isla), Lauren Bland (husband David and grandson Tripp). Also surviving Buster are his sisters and brother; Denise Qualls (Mark), Debra Cavender (Paul), Donna Parimore (Bob), Dawn Davis (Andy) and Zane Prater (Emi) and a whole bunch of beloved nieces and nephews.
Buster’s faith in God impacted all he did, and it was evident to all who knew him. He was a member of Vestavia church of Christ since 1993 where he served in many capacities including often leading the congregation in song.
His name was Rayford A Prater II- no period after the A and NOT Jr. His mother jumped past Junior, and went right to ‘the II” but called him Buster. Buster filled every room he entered. Everyone who met him became a friend. He treated all with the same level of respect and kindness, no matter if he was the CEO or the Janitor. Making people feel like they were close friends was just his way. No one seems to forget meeting Buster because he had that gift. Buster was known for not only being full of life but for being larger than life.
He worked hard for everything he had. As an agent with ALFA insurance from 1982 until his retirement this year, Buster always went the extra mile for his clients resulting in countless awards. His clients ultimately became his friends. He did what he said he would do and he meant what he said.
He loved to have fun with his family and friends, ever the fearless “daredevil”. Buster was known for his exceptional story telling (maybe because he was the loudest one in the room).
Buster was always up for a competitive game in any sports arena, be it football, ping pong or Rook. He played football throughout high school and loved reminiscing about those days. His grandson, Colton, would often request stories about “ole 52” which was his football number.
“His wife, Sandy, was the love of his life. They grew up together and were high school sweethearts at Midfield High School. His college roommate and life-long best friend, Edward Ledford, said there was a picture of Sandy on his bed side table in their dorm room at Florida College. Buster told him ``I'm gonna’ marry that girl”.
The number one fan of his grandkids in every way, he was often found at their sporting events. The kids always knew Busta was there – no one cheered louder! It was hard to tell if he loved Alabama football or Colton’s soccer games more. And that’s saying A LOT because he lived and breathed Alabama football. He especially loved taking Colton to Bryant Denny Stadium. As much as he loved his yard, Buster allowed Isla to plant “fairy gardens'' in very random locations and then patiently mowed around
them, taking extra care not to disturb the “fairies''. Although he knew Tripp for less than a year, Buster beamed when he was around. He enjoyed playing with him in the pool and singing to him.
There were so many reasons Buster was beloved – his ability to make everyone laugh, his lust for life and his extraordinary love for the Lord and His people. He was indeed a great father, husband, brother, friend and one awesome granddad -“Busta”.
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