The Reverend James H. Branch, 85, died Monday, February 24, 2014 in Jacksonville, FL following a brief illness. James was born in Graham on June 8, 1928 to Arthur Bowen Branch and Beulah Miller Branch, both deceased.
The Branch family moved to Baxley when James was two-years-old and he resided in Baxley until he moved to Jacksonville. James served in the Army for two years during the Korean Conflict. Returning home from Germany, he was ordained as a minister and served as Pastor to three churches during his ministry of 54 years. After his retirement he also served as interim pastor for two churches, one being Dunn Memorial Baptist of Baxley. He is said to have preached 6,000 sermons, 2,000 funerals, hundreds of revivals in FL and GA and officiated for countless weddings.
The Rev. Branch graduated from the Luther Rice Seminary in 1964 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He taught at Luther Rice Seminary for 12 years as a member of the adjunct faculty. He also held an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the North Florida Baptist Theological Seminary.
James is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joan Carter Branch, daughter of the Rev. Cecil W. Carter (deceased) and Lois Beecher Carter; one daughter, Melody (Tim) Johnson; two grandchildren, Amy Terrell and Tonya (Tony) Palatsidis; three great-grandsons; three sisters, Mary (Len) Hyatt, Lee Ada (Frank) Ray and Loyce Kimberly; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his son, James D. Branch of Jacksonville and three brothers, Percy M., David C. and Wilbur Branch, all former residents of Baxley.
The Rev. Branch was a gentleman and scholar who loved God, his church and family and friends. His generous, kind spirit and keen wit will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by all privileged to know him.