Katherine Kennedy Ball Branson passed away at her home in Midland on June 6, 2013, at the age of 93. She was a lifelong resident of Midland and the widow of Stuart S. Branson who passed away in 2011 and to whom she was married for 69 years. She was the second of three daughters of Chester C. Kennedy and Marian B. Kennedy, also long time Midland residents.
Katherine was a 1938 graduate of Midland High School and afterward attended Michigan State University
, majoring in Home Economics. Katherine and Stuart, also an MSU graduate, married after the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941. When Stuart entered the U.S. Army
, Katherine followed him through OCS training and kept the home fires burning while he served and was wounded in Europe. Their experiences during the war are contained in their book entitled, Tender Comrades, which aptly describes their lifelong relationship. An early project of Stuart's firm, Branson Builders, was the design and construction of their Midland home where she and Stuart raised three sons and lived the rest of their days.
Katherine was a member of the King's Daughters and the First Presbyterian Church. She and Stuart were supporters of Eagle Village in Hersey, helping disadvantaged children from difficult environments to develop and prosper. In retirement at their winter home in Stuart, Fla., they worked together at the Challenger School for mentally challenged children. She loved the home arts of gardening, baking, cooking, sewing, knitting, her family and being a mother. An avid reader and crossword fan, she also took up oil painting later in life.
Katherine is survived by sons, Carl K. Branson of The Villages, Fla. and his wife, Doris, Jon A. Branson of Houston, Texas, David S. Branson of Fenton and his wife, Karen. Katherine leaves four grandchildren, Kimberley A. Branson of Willow Grove, Pa., Scott A. Branson of Horsham, Pa., Brian A. Branson of Emmaus, Pa. and his wife, Emily and Max B. Branson of Ann Arbor. She also leaves two sisters, Helen Burns and Marianne Ward; a niece, Jean Braden and her husband, Dan, all of Midland.
An open casket gathering for family and friends will begin on Sunday, June 9, 2013, at 12 p.m., followed by a service at 2 p.m. at the Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Home, 1200 W. Wheeler St. The Rev. Wallace H. Mayton III will officiate. Burial will be at the Midland Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 10, 2013.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider Kings Daughters, Eagle Village or the Alzheimer's Foundation in Katherine's name will be appreciated. www.waresmithwoolever.com