Danny Shirley helped build the Apple Annie’s that Florence knows and loves today, and this weekend, his family and friends will gather to remember the man hundreds considered their “Uncle Danny.”
Shirley passed away April 28 at the age of 60, leaving behind a legacy of love, happiness and good times.
“Uncle Danny was 60 going on 21,” his nephew Chad Shirley said. “He just loved to live. The man could have fun, any time in any situation. Whether you just met him or knew him your entire life, he could bring a smile to your face. He was so charismatic. His personality, laugh, and compassion were all so contagious!”
Contagious and extremely well-known throughout the Florence community, Uncle Danny loved his family, friends, live music and the Clemson Tigers. He was so well-known and loved that those who knew him best got together recently and decided it was only fitting to gather at his favorite watering hole – Apple Annie’s — and give the community a chance to give him a proper farewell — complete with laughter, live music and plenty of cold drinks.
“Uncle Danny has been a huge part of my entire family,” Apple Annie’s owner Shane Brannon said. “He had probably the biggest heart of anyone I’ve come across. He and I have built tons of stuff together and luckily got to spend a ton of quality time together. I seriously considered him family. It was so heartbreaking to lose him. It was just a no-brainer to have a celebration of his life, and I feel honored to be able to do it at Apple Annie’s. He pretty much built everything in the place anyway. I’m looking forward to having a cold one for my friend in heaven, and I look forward to seeing him again down the road. I loved Uncle Danny, and I was happy to have him love me back.”
Brannon and the Shirley family are inviting everyone to come show their love for Uncle Danny this Sunday at Apple Annie’s from 2 p.m. until. The celebration of life will include music by Chad and Lance Shirley of Tastes Like Chicken, Seth Collins, Michael Ryan, Jake Westerbeck, a long awaited reunion set by Whatley and Hutch, Justin Anderson, Jebb Mac and Tyler Roberts of the Jebb Mac Band, capped off by Tastes Like Chicken. The day will conclude with an All-Star Jam with great musicians from throughout the day.
There will be hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill outside for purchase, and all proceeds will go to Danny’s kids and family to defer the burden of all the final expenses. There is no admission fee, but donations to the family are appreciated.
Chad Shirley said Sunday’s celebration/benefit is the perfect tribute to his uncle and he knows Uncle Danny will be there in spirit, as well as many a conversation, via his many memorable jokes and sayings.
“He had the funniest little sayings and made up words that if someone else said, you would just scratch your head, thinking ‘Huh?’” Chad Shirley said. “But there was just something about the way he said it, his delivery. It was impeccable! Those little sayings and jokes would be ingrained in your mind afterwards. Even now, if I think about one of those sayings or one of his made up words,I can hear him say it like he’s right next to me.”
“You always hear these cliches about how when someone walked in a room, it lit up. With Uncle Danny, though, that is absolutely true. When he walked into a room, the mood would lighten, even in an already happiest of situations or get-togethers,” Chad Shirley said. “He truly never met a stranger. That is why, to everyone who ever met him through me or my brothers or any of our cousins, he immediately became ‘Uncle Danny’ to them — in their eyes, as well as his. You could not help but love him, and he definitely loved you back!”
Chad Shirley said his uncle came up with a five-word goodbye that his family quickly adopted, and he thinks Sunday’s party will do his fun-loving uncle justice.
“Until we meet again,” Chad Shirley said, “love you, mean it … Out!”
For more information about Sunday’s celebration of life/benefit, call Apple Annie’s at (843) 669-6247.