Deonka 'Dee Dee' Drayton: 'A heart like hers' was rare

Drayton's family describes her as loyal, loving

With a distinctive laugh and a heart of pure gold for those she loved, Deonka Drayton, 32, exuded the type of genuine friendship that many hope to experience at least once in their lifetime.

Drayton was a daughter, sister, cousin and, most importantly, a parent who loved her son, now 3 years old, fiercely.

For those who knew Drayton, most did not call her by her birth name, but one of her many nicknames: Little Bit, Loc, Dee Dee or Deon.

Family members said she loved fashion, especially one designer in particular, with the initials MK.

"She loved, loved, loved Michael Kors and loved Polo cologne," her cousin Porsha Brown told News 6.

Drayton's dreadlocks were known as a part of her signature style.

"She had them for quite for some time," Brown said. "I do not remember her without them, honestly."

Drayton had a style all her own. But the best thing that Drayton always wore was her smile showing her beautiful teeth, her cousin said.

"She took a lot of pride in her locks, clothes and it was a part of her look," Brown said.

Brown told News 6 that the thing she she misses most are the intimate conversations about life she had with Drayton.

"We had a lot of heart-to-hearts. I just miss the talks with her," Brown said. "Our heart-to-heart talks were about life and being accepted. Deep down, she truly wanted to be accepted by her mother and father."

Through Drayton's ups and downs, her cousin said she admired her strength and learned some very important things from Drayton.

"Through her, I learned tolerance and respect," Brown said.

Drayton was the ultimate friend to those she cared for.

"She worried about the people she loved. If she had it, you would have it," Brown said.

There was nothing that Drayton would not do for someone she loved, even if that meant giving up her last five dollars if someone needed it, or borrowing a car to make sure a friend got home safely.

"You are not going to find a heart like hers," Brown said. "She was rare."

Drayton was working as a bartender the night of June 12, 2016, and the manner in which she died and how is something that will always stay with her cousin, almost a year later.

"It does not feel like a year at all. It will never go away. It is as fresh as it was on June 12. She just went to work," Brown said."There is not a day (that) I don't look at her picture or think of her. Not a day."

Drayton's memory will live on through her own son and her cousin's future children.

"The one way I will honor her -- when we get married, I will be naming my second child after her. That is the best way to honor her and I pray that they have her spirit," Brown said.