News Death Notice
BRANCH, Mary Jo Emerson Age 95, Mary Jo Emerson Branch died March 28, 2010. She was born October 31, 1914, in Kansas City, Missouri. Her parents were Primus Luther Emerson and Elizabeth Pipes Emerson Shay. She graduated form Oak Park and River Forest High School in Illinois, attended Beloit College and received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago. In 1939 she married Edgar Branch who joined the Miami University faculty in 1941. In the late 1940's, attempting to find local socialization and training for her son, she pioneered opportunities in Butler County making it possible for children with developmental disabilities to receive the education appropriate to their capacities for learning. In the same endeavor, in 1953 she became the first woman to be elected to the Butler County Board of Education as well as state education chairman for the parent oriented Ohio Council for Retarded Children. A little later she organized the library for the newly built Talawanda High School and served as its first librarian. Still later she served as president of the Miami University Women's Club as well as president of the Friends of the Library of the University. She enjoyed painting and published several articles in historical journals. She was a docent at the Miami University Art Museum during its early years and volunteered for Conflict Resolution Services, an Oxford based mediation program in the 1990's. She is survived by her daughters, Sydney Diez Daly and her husband Gerald of Chatsworth, Georgia, her daughter Marian Williams of Shaker Heights, Ohio, her son-in-law James Diez, grandchildren, Matthew Diez and his wife Sunita Wagle of Atlanta Georgia, Jeffrey Diez of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Robert, Olivia and Laura Williams and great-grandchildren, Kai and Kiran Diez. Preceding her in death is her husband, Edgar Branch, her son, Robert, and her brother, Robert Emerson and his wife Roberta Shinn Emerson, of Huntington, West Virginia and son-in-law Scott Williams. She has requested a private family service and that any contribution in her memory remains the choice of donors. There will be an open reception for family and friends between 2pm and 6pm on Saturday, April 3 at her home. Smith and Ogle Funeral Home of Oxford, Ohio assisting the family.