Mary Frances DeVane Branch, 92, of Tifton, passed away Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at her residence. A Celebration Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 13, 2023, in the Memorial Chapel of Tifton’s First Baptist Church. Dr. Wayne Roe will officiate with burial to follow in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Friday, January 13, 2023, in the Memorial Chapel of Tifton's First Baptist Church from 10:00 a.m. until the hour of the service.
Jay Branch, Dru Branch, Clay Berry, Russ Moore, Marty Moore, Phil Moore, Steve Branch, Danny Branch, Scott Branch, Stan Mann, Mack Branch, Steve Devane and Brent Devane will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Camellia Garden Club, the Council of Garden Clubs of Tifton, Caregivers of Abide Home Care, the Serenity Sunday School Class at Tifton’s First Baptist Church and Willie Gainer.
Frances was born August 28, 1930, and she was a native to Nashville, Georgia. She held a bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State College. She was a businesswoman, mother, and biology educator for 10 years.
Frances was an avid supporter of Tifton. She served in numerous positions at First Baptist Church Tifton from Sunday School teacher, librarian, choir member and many other positions during her 60 years as a member of First Baptist Church. Mary Frances and Dr. Curtis Branch, Jr. were devoted supporters to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and were both members of the President’s Club.
Frances was also an outstanding member of Tifton Garden Clubs. During her 60 plus years she held multiple positions from President of the Council of Garden Clubs of Tifton, Chairperson of Board of Trustees, and chairperson of the house committee for her lifetime in Tifton. She was a member of Camellia Garden Club and served as President, Vice President, Second vice President, Camellia Day Chairperson and Distinguished Service committee member. She was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Council of Garden Clubs of Tift County for her outstanding work in our community.
She was the grandmother of 8 grandchildren and one great granddaughter. She attended every honors program, every grandparent’s day and always took the children shopping at the bookfair. She was so proud of all her children and grandchildren and loved to share stories of their accomplishments and success.
Frances loved her daughter and three sons, daughters-in-law and son-in-law. She and Dr. James Curtis Branch, Jr., “Curtis,” had a love affair that lasted a lifetime. The two did not miss a wedding or funeral or social function as a team, the two were joined together.
Frances was preceded in death by her husband, James Curtis Branch, Jr.; her parents, William Edgar DeVane and Mamie Jeanes DeVane; her parents-in-law, James Curtis Branch and Lois Towson Branch; and brothers and sisters-in-law, Max and Lois DeVane, Roy DeVane, Marvin and Ann Branch Moore.
Frances is survived by four children, three daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and seven grandchildren, which are: son, James Curtis Branch III, daughter-in-law, Julie Branch, grandsons, James Curtis Branch IV “Dru” Branch and Clay Berry; son, Jay Gregory Branch, daughter-in-law Terri Branch, grandson Jay Branch and granddaughter Alexandria Branch; daughter, Marla Branch Smith, son-in-law, Bert Smith, granddaughters, Malia Smith Dillard and her husband Brandon and their daughter, Wrenley Dillard and Melanie Smith; son, J. Edgar Branch, daughter-in-law, Shauna Branch and granddaughters, Eva Joleigh Branch and Liv Branch. She is also survived by many brothers and sisters and two brothers-in-law, which are the following; two nieces and three nephews; brother, Dan Branch, sister-in-law, Carolyn Branch, three nephews and one niece; sister, Deleen Branch Ellis and brother-in-law, Albert Ellis, three nieces; sister, Carolyn Branch Mann and brother-in-law, the late John Mann, one nephew and one niece; brother, Earl Branch, sister-in-law, June Branch and two nieces; sister, Jane Branch Atwater, brother-in-law, Emory Atwater and three nieces; brother, Jerry Branch, sister-in-law, Kathe Branch, one niece and one nephew; one nephew and one niece; sister-in-law, Janice DeVane; and several nieces and nephews.
Flowers will be accepted or memorial gifts may be made to Tift Animal Rescue, 2207 Belmont Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794.