OBITUARY: Donna Gayle Brake

OBITUARY: Donna Gayle Brake

Donna Gayle Brake, age 61, of Atlanta Georgia, departed this life on April 1, 2018, following complications of a stroke.

A Nashville native and longtime resident of Middle Tennessee. Donna is preceded in death by her parents Albert Brady Brake Sr and Lillian Doris Hill Brake of Triune, Tennessee. She is survived by siblings Jackie (George) Ragland, Barbara (Bob) Mathis, Albert (Patrice) Brake Jr, Nancy (Jerry) Moore, Roger (Vickie) Brake, and John (Debra) Brake. She is also survived by numerous nieces
and nephews and great nieces and nephews.

Donna attended College Grove High School and was its Class of 1974 Valedictorian. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee
State University before embarking on a career in broadcasting. Hundreds of thousands of people came to know her voice on WSM-FM in the early 1980s, where she was a disc jockey and, later, the station’s first female Music Director. Donna left WSM-FM to become the first female Program Director of WSB-FM in Atlanta, where she not only designed the sound and identity of the station, but also served as an on-air talent, befriending thousands, if not millions, more people with her beautiful voice. She followed up her groundbreaking success at radio by becoming the Adult Contemporary radio format editor at Radio & Records, an influential national music business trade magazine based in Los Angeles. While there, she wrote and published a weekly column and interacted with hundreds of radio programmers across the country. Her tenure at R&R was broadly respected by the nation’s radio and record community and introduced her to many other aspects of the music business. As the 1980s drew to a close, Donna launched Donna Brake Promotion, an independent music business promotion company. Wildly successful, Donna worked with some of the biggest names in the music business and earned dozens of certified Gold and Platinum awards. The company thrived for 30 years, its doors closing only upon Donna’s sudden and unexpected death.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Donna’s honor at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, at the Williamson Memorial Chapel, 3009 Columbia Ave., Franklin, Tennessee. Visitation with the family is two hours prior, beginning at 1 p.m. Donna loved flowers and enthusiastically supported the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Donations in her name can be made at the ABG  website (

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