Somerset—Brynlee Minee’ Bigelow, 21, beloved daughter of Bradley David Bigelow and Johnna Lee Atkinson-Bigelow tragically left her earthly body on February 11, 2020.
Brynlee’s grand entrance into this world occurred on June 9, 1998. She joined her loving brother, Braden Paul Bigelow, in being the pride, joy, heart and world of her adoring parents. From her toddler years, Brynlee had a very serious demeanor as she hardly ever smiled while she was studying the world around her. Even at that tender age, her ability to focus allowed her to rapidly advance through all the developmental stages. Before her parents knew it, she was climbing trees, scaling fences and running at a break-neck speed toward every finish line. Along with her physical development, her academic skills were equally outstanding. Through her school years, she frequently earned awards for Writing, Math, Science, Art, Reading and PE…along with winning awards for fundraising for school, band, Special Olympics and any other competition placed before her. Brynlee was a competitor in all things, regardless of the awards. She just wanted to win. She epitomized the definition of a well-rounded individual.
Following in her big brother’s footsteps, she started playing Cal Ripken t-ball at the age of 4 and enjoyed watching her big brother’s Lake Cumberland All-star team catcher in action. Due to her studying the older catcher, when she started Coaches Pitch at 6 years old and had a chance to play the catcher’s position, when other players her age were just content to wear the equipment, she was ripping off her helmet to catch foul tips like a pro and sending the batters back to the dug-out in a state of confusion because they hadn’t even learned that a caught foul tip was an out. She mastered the catcher’s position and also became a solid hitter, base runner and even pitched on occasion for each level of Cal Ripken. She was selected to an all-star team each year. In 8th grade, she switched to playing softball at Meece Middle School leading the team to a 10-win season banner year. After the 8th grade season ended, due to the varsity catcher’s injury, she moved into that position for the Somerset High School Briar Jumper Softball team just prior to the district tournament. Shocking those who had never seen her perform, her advanced level of play helped the team win the District title allowing them to advance to the Regions. She continued to play varsity softball for the remainder of her high school career winning numerous district and regional awards.
Brynlee also started playing basketball in the Upward Basketball program at the tender age of 5. In 7th grade, she started playing basketball for both Meece Middle and Somerset High School and where she was a stand-out point guard and led the state in charges taken and ultimately was recognized as an elite member of the 1000-point club. Her name will be on a banner in the SHS gym forever. She also won numerous district and regional awards for basketball. She was recognized as Outstanding SHS Freshman Female athlete.
Her Junior year, she was asked to replace the injured SHS soccer keeper. Although entirely new to the game, she studied and practiced until she mastered the position like every other sport she played. Her very first year playing soccer, she was recognized for the All County Soccer team almost winning the top honor of Soccer Player of the Year, in spite of it being her first year ever playing that sport. By the time she graduated from SHS, she had been recognized for numerous all district and all region awards in all three sports. Additionally, she was selected as a member of the All County team for all three sports being recognized as Player of the Year in Softball. Her Senior year, she had a personal goal accomplished when she was named The Commonwealth Journal 2015 Female Athlete of the Year. Upon her 2016 graduation, she had a dream come true when she was recruited by the University of Kentucky softball team and was recognized as being the fastest runner on the team. Brynlee had the honor of seeing significant playing time.
As she became more intent on her future, Brynlee decided to focus on her plans to be a Digital Media Graphics major which would maximize her artistic talent and creativity. She was excelling in art classes, film, web design and print art. She was on target to graduate in December 2020 with plans to transfer to a smaller school to pursue a degree in business and, perhaps, to her family’s excitement, play basketball.
In addition to her athletic prowess, many people have spoken of her ability to encourage all those players coming up behind her. Many have commented on how polite, encouraging and inspirational she was for so many younger athletes and artists alike.
Brynlee was also an adventurer. She loved going on explorations to places unknown. She was never content to sit still. Even as a child, she was always creating and mastering new skills like skateboarding, playing guitar, waterskiing, planning the next scary scene for Bigeloween, the family’s annual Halloween Trick-or-Treat experience, and most recently was pursuing getting certified in scuba diving.
Miraculously, in spite of playing and participating in all these sports and activities with such fierceness and competitiveness she never experienced any major injuries causing many people to declare she was invincible. Brynlee had the kind of skill that even made the competitors admire her abilities.
In short, Brynlee lived every second of her life with great intensity, joy, laughter and charm. With all of her qualities, everyone expected even greater things to come from her life in the years to come. Sadly, these expectations will never be fulfilled due to her tragic death. She leaves behind a legacy that is far more reaching than most people who have lived four times her age.
Her sudden passing has resulted in the broken hearts of her parents, brother, grandparents, Bill and Nancy Bigelow, Jo Harrison Sparks Milward and husband Rob, aunts, Jolie Thompson (Jon), Jill Atkinson-Petter and Amber Atkinson-Petter, uncle Brett Bigelow (Tuesday), cousins, Cade Thompson, Chloe Thompson, Emerson Atkinson-Petter, Hudson Atkinson-Petter and other great aunts and uncles and cousins. Preceding her in death in her lifetime was her granddaddy, Robert Paul Atkinson and her great-grandparents, John D. and Minnie Harrison. In addition to her human family, Brynlee also leaves behind her beloved fur babies, cat, Pongo and her loved beyond belief special needs dog, Takoda. The outpouring of love from thousands of people from around the world is a testament of the far reach Brynlee had in her too brief life. It would be impossible to list all who are left with broken hearts due to her passing.
Most importantly, Brynlee accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior in her childhood and was baptized at Eagle Heights Church where she learned the fundamentals of her faith. She also attended First Baptist Church during her young teen years. Later, she was an active member of the youth group and The Creek Church where she never missed watching Nothing But Christmas, yet another Bigelow family tradition. Her sincere Christian faith gives her friends and family deep comfort knowing one day she will be waiting to greet them with that huge infectious, beautiful smile and the warmest of hugs, when they, too, pass from this earth.
Believing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, a two-day celebration of her life will occur at First Baptist Church, Somerset, KY, beginning with a visitation 5:00 -8:00 p.m. on Monday, February 17.
The visitation will continue on Tuesday, February 18 starting at 9:00 a.m. with the funeral service starting at 2:00 p.m.
After the service, interment will take place at the Northside Cemetery in Science Hill, KY. Followed by a celebration dinner in The Bridge of First Baptist Church.
The Active Pall Bearers will be dear friends Castle Hatcher, Carlos Canella, Tyler Mullins, Hala Ayyash and adoring, broken-hearted big brother, Braden Bigelow. Breaking with tradition, which is what the Bigelow family frequently does, the last two pall bearers will be her father and mother. Being the first two people to create her and usher her into this world, they want to be the last two to carry her to her final resting place on this earth…. a lovely spot near a grove of trees and a small pond. Brynlee loved water and the outdoors and the spot seemed perfect. She will be the first person interred in this new cemetery and her family agrees she would have thought being first would be way cool. Additionally, she will have plenty of space for years to come before any others invade her space. Those who knew her knows she did NOT like anyone invading her space.
Honorary Pall Bearers will be all of the coaches and teammates who have impacted her life. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Brynlee Bigelow Scholarship fund soon to be set up at Citizens National Bank, Somerset, KY.
Pulaski Funeral Home is honored to assist the Bigelow family with arrangements.