The Rev. Russell L. Branch, 77, of Columbia passed away peacefully at his home Nov. 8, 2020.

He was born Jan. 11, 1943, in Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa, the youngest of five children and the son of the late Harry V. and Letha C. (Wilson) Branch.

Russell was in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964, where he served overseas in France and Germany. He was a 5-ton tractor and trailer truck driver.

In 1981 he entered the ministry, graduating from St. Paul School of Theology in July 1986. He was ordained as a deacon in the Methodist East Conference on May 22, 1987.

He served in the Missouri East Conference: New Florence Circuit from May 1981 to January 1987; Wayland Circuit from January 1987 to June 1994; Viburnum Circuit from June 1994 to June 1997; Hermann Circuit from June 1997 to June 2004; and New Bloomfield Circuit from June 2004 to June 2005. He was also a member of various organizations over his lifetime.

The Rev. Branch married JaNeanne Stookesberry on Aug. 7, 1965. They had two children, Jeffrey Heath and Nichole Leigh Branch. On March 17, 1978, he married June E. (Barratt) Cameron Branch, who had three children, Gail E. Cameron, Barry R. Cameron and John M. Cameron.

He is survived by his children: Jeffrey (Crystal) Branch and Nichole Branch (John) Ackerman; step-children, Gail Cameron, Barry Cameron and John (Susan) Cameron; brothers Gary Branch and Lester Branch; a sister, Geraldine Branch; nine grandchildren, Cody (Erin) Branch, Courtney (Jake) Collins, Colby Branch, Alley (Mateo) Dias, Samantha (Trevor) Reeves, Joey (Michelle) Cameron, Taylor (Kate) Cameron, Madison (Tucker) Whitworth and Logan (Lauren) Frett; and eight great-grandchildren, Jaymie, Harlee and Timber Collins, Braxton Dias, Oliver and Brooklyn Reeves, Cameron Whitworth and Emmie Cameron.

He was preceded in death by his wife June, his parents, Harry and Letha Branch, and brother Larry Branch.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. He requested that if you want to make a donation in his memory to please do so at the Rainbow House, 1611 Towne Drive.

Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service and Crematory; 12 E. Ash St., 449-4153. Condolences may be left online for the family at parkermillard.com

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