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David D. Pryor

December 25, 1947 — November 22, 2023

Mr. David Dewayne Pryor

December 25, 1948 - November 22, 2023

David Dewayne Pryor, born on December 25, 1948, was a son and greatly loved Christmas gift to his parents, David Pryor and Dorothy Lee Fleming Pryor, who took their rest in 2017 and 1970, respectively. Mr. Pryor was born in rural Madison County, Florida--a place in the woods where many of his immediate and extended family members also lived, and where love abounded.

From humble beginnings, young David feasted on wildly growing berries, nuts, and fruit. His food was mostly farm grown and from nearby lakes. In the early years, his clothes were hand-sown or passed down. He spent time in fresh air and nature, and “lived it up” with cousins, throwing “rag balls”, climbing big oak trees, and creating a host of fun-filled activities. He enjoyed a healthy, happy, and free-spirited early childhood.

Mr. Pryor and his parents moved to Winter Park, Florida where he attended Hannibal Elementary School. Mr. Pryor was baptized in his early teens and joined the Junior Choir at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. This was pivotal in further advancing his Christian education and development. Even in those early years, Mr. Pryor’s teachers and peers respected his friendly, easy, respectful, and kind manner of interacting with them. He was larger than most of his peers and quite strong in heart, mind and body. This was advantageous for his much smaller, younger sister, Lannie Jewel. “Wayne” was her “gentle giant”.

In the early years of junior high school, Mr. Pryor’s parents purchased a home in Eatonville, Florida. He had the good fortune of attending Hungerford High School, and graduated before the beloved school was permanently closed in the late 1960s. Mr. Pryor always held fond memories of Hungerford. Although he was blessed with an abundance of intellectual gifts and potential, he “coasted” through most of his classes. Wisely, he was careful to earn grades sufficient to ensure that he was eligible to play sports, particularly football. A first cousin, Mr. Clyde Fleming, summarized Mr. Pryor’s sports aptitude and relationship with others in a recent text to his sister:

You may not know this but he was my first real life hero—

he was a star athlete, liked by so many people, including coaches. When people learned we were related, I got instant credibility

and a few second looks from a few young ladies.

Immediately upon his graduation from high school, Mr. Pryor was drafted from the safety of his home, family, and community into the United States Army. As a teen soldier, he was sent into the Vietnam War. Like his fellow soldiers, while there Mr. Pryor faced inexplicable terrors that traumatized him physically and mentally for the rest of his life. Tragically, his mother, and first love of his life, passed away a few months before he left the military. Soon after he was discharged, he joined his sister in Nashville. They lived together while both attended school. Mr. Pryor earned a diploma in radiology from Meharry Medical School.

Mr. Pryor remained in greater Nashville for the rest of his life. It was there that he met the next and forever love of his life, Macie Elaine Pope, and his long-wished-for son, Dwight, who faithfully assisted him during his prolonged illness. David and Macie married December 26, 1976 and remained so for 43 years, until her death August 11, 2020. Several years after their marriage, the family expanded with the addition of their daughter. Her parents thought of her as her name describes, “Precious” (spouse Curvie Shields). Over time, the family grew to also include Mr. Pryor’s cherished grandchildren from Precious: Kamari and Khamylle Wilson, and Curvie Shields, Jr.

Living relatives in Mr. Pryor’s immediate birth family are his sister, Dr. Lannie Pryor Brown; nieces, Dr. Ashaki Brown and Rev. Amani Legagneur (spouse, Lionel Legagneur, Jr., Esq.) and grandniece, Zuri Legagneur. Mr. Pryor is survived by his stepbrother, Mr. Michael Doby (spouse Djuna) and nephews, Evan and Donte Doby. Among Mr. Pryor’s living relatives by marriage are his brothers and sisters-in-law: Rev. & Mrs. Charles and Vernell Sanderfur, and Mr. & Mrs. Leonard and Arnita Pope; “nephew-sons” Mr. Carlos, Christopher and Thomas Pope; and other relatives and friends whom he loved very much.

Mr. Pryor was a hard-worker. Following his tour of duty in the U. S. Army, he was a Radiology Technician at the Tennessee State Prison until it closed. Subsequently, he worked at Lois M. Dewberry Special Needs Facility and the DC4-Davidson County Drug Court. He retired after 33 years of employment in the prison system. He was also a chef at Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse in Nashville.

Mr. Pryor enjoyed fishing, cooking, and watching football games and western shows. Even in his last days, when he was no longer able to speak, Mr. Pryor was still a jokester and his sense of humor was apparent. In healthier times, his mission was to uplift others, and his love for God was most often reflected in his service to others. In his youth, he pondered scripture, asked critical questions, and sought to understand and do God’s will. One of his favorite scriptures was: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

Mr. Pryor’s physical and mental health began to decline during his time in the military. After his wife, children, and relatives had done all that they could to care for him, Mr. Pryor required full-time nursing care beginning in November 2011. In his final nursing home and palliative care placement, Mr. Pryor was blessed with amazing grace as his medical care team surrounded him with extraordinary love and support that was unquestionably ordained by God. Mr. Pryor is now at rest. For this, his family gives thanks.

Please keep the Pryor and Pope families in your thoughts and prayers.

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