James W Branch

January 3rd, 1924 to January 11th, 2019

James W. “Red” Branch, 95, of Fort Gratiot, died Friday, January 11, 2019.

He was born January 2, 1924 in Sarnia, Ontario to the late Charles W. and Mary Branch. He married Evelyn Marie Suida on October 4, 1947 in Harbor Beach.

He joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the South Pacific aboard the USS Chipola, an oiler/hospital ship. Shortly after the armistice was signed, they sailed into the Bay of Japan and remained in the area until he returned home. He was discharged at Shoemaker, California in 1945.

James was a member of the American Legion Charles A. Hammond Post #8, a past member of the B.P.O.E. Lodge #343 and other organizations. He enjoyed bridge, traveling, winter sports, live theater and musicals. He enjoyed entertaining his family and friends and was a helpful good neighbor. He also played Santa Claus for the handicapped and nursery schools for 25 years. He worked for the Grand Trunk Western Railroad for 20 years and retired from Woman’s Life Insurance Company in 1991.

He is survived by his wife Evelyn; four children, Marianne Hornbeck, Richard A. (Judy) Branch, Joanne (Michael) Hart and Steven (Becky) Branch; eight grandchildren, Angela Smith, Benjamin (Beth) Bennett III, Melissa (Jeremy) Gattis, Christopher Branch, Sarah Jex, Brian Hart, Nicholas and Parker Branch; nine great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a grandson, David Branch; and three sisters, Grace, Helen, and Pauline.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, January 18, 2019 in St. Edward on the Lake Catholic Church with visitation from 10 a.m. until the time of service. The Rev. Richard Fritz will officiate. Military honors will be conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Navy and the St. Clair County Allied Veterans Honor Guard.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Autism Society of Michigan or Marine Corps Toys for Tots.

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