Clarence Leslie Branch, Sr. went from this life to the next on March 31, 2010.
His Funeral Service was April 2, 2010 at Calvary Baptist Church, Brownfield, Texas with Dale Matlock and Joseph O’Briant officiating. Interment at Terry County Memorial Cemetery with Steve Carter officiating. Arrangements by Brownfield Funeral Home.
Clarence was born on December 3, 1927 in Driscoll, Texas to William Jennings Branch and Ima Branch. He graduated from Corpus Christi High School in 1946 where he lettered in football for three years and was captain his senior year. He attended Rice University, and the University of Corpus Christi. He was elected captain of the football team while at UCC and also lettered in basketball.
While a student at Rice, he was drafted by the U.S. Army and served 18 months of military duty. He was contacted by the Pittsburgh Steelers about playing football. Brother Clarence was called to preach the gospel while a student at UCC. He returned to graduate there in 1961.
Clarence Branch was pastor of Second Baptist Church, New Braunfels; Bethel Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; Retama Park Baptist Church, Kingsville; Forrest Park Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; Calvary Baptist Church, Brownfield; First Baptist Church, Anson; Windsor Park Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; and West Shore Baptist Church, Lake Corpus Christi. He preached revivals in Brazil, California, Kansas, Oregon, North Dakota and throughout Texas.
Clarence is survived by his wife Dorothy Marie. They were married in 1948 by Lester Roloff in Corpus Christi, Texas.
He is also survived by his daughter, Cheryll Matlock and her husband Dale Matlock of Brownfield, as well as his son, Clarence “Leslie” Branch, Jr. of the home.
Clarence Branch is survived by five grandsons - Robert Steagall and his wife Angela of Corpus Christi; John Steagall and hsi wife Penny of Honolulu; Aaron Steagall of Brownfield; Joseph O’Briant, III and his wife Elizabeth of Welch; and Joshua O’Briant, I and his wife Tiffany of Brownfield, and seven great-grandchildren. Memorials can be made to Brownfield Senior Citizens or Challis Baptist Church.
My dad, Joe Brumbelow, went to UCC with Clarence Branch and they were longtime friends. My brother, Steve Brumbelow, preached several revivals for Clarence Branch.
Brother Clarence enjoyed joking and kidding with others. On one occasion Joe Brumbelow, Clarence Branch, and one or two others preached in a Bible Conference in Corpus Christi, TX. After the conference they were each duly sent a $100 check for their part in the Conference. Clarence called Joe and said, “Joe it was a great conference. I sure appreciate the $300 check they sent me.” Joe said, “Clarence, you’re an instigator.”
Clarence Branch was one of the many Southern Baptist pastors who faithfully preached the Word, loved the lost, and served his Master. He’s one of the ones I looked up to through the years. May God bless his family, and may his inheritance be forever.
Note: Clarence Branch’s obituary was in The Brownfield News, April 3, 2010; also in the Southern Baptist Texan, May 3, 2010.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 3, AD 2010.