Cecil Dewey Branstetter
Husband of Charlotte Coleman Branstetter for almost 70 years, passed away on May 7, 2014 at the age of 93.
He was born in Morgan County, Tennessee to the late Miller Henry and Lillie Mae Adams Branstetter. The first in his family to attend college, he enrolled at Lincoln Memorial University on a work program, milking cows morning and evening while attending classes during the day. During World War II, he served in the United States Army. While stationed in England, he was awarded a scholarship to Oxford University, then returned home to finish his degree at George Washington University. Mr. Branstetter graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1949 where he was elected Order of the Coif, President of the Honor Council and of Delta Theta Phi legal fraternity, and served as an Editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review.
Cecil Branstetter lived a life dedicated to making the world a better place, especially for those less fortunate. He believed in civil rights for all people and in the rights of working men and women. He sought justice through the practice of law for 60 years in a firm that ultimately became Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC. As a result of the firm's work, Vanderbilt Law School received a settlement that provided an endowment for the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program. He also worked within the legal profession, serving as President of the Junior Section of the Tennessee Bar Association, Chairman of the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, and a Fellow of the Tennessee and Nashville Bar Foundations.
Mr. Branstetter's political efforts reflected his commitments. He won election to the House of Representatives of the 77th Tennessee General Assembly in 1951 and he will be remembered for obtaining passage of the bill allowing women to serve on juries. He served on the 1957 and 1961 Charter Commissions, which consolidated the city and county governments. He was Chairman of the Metropolitan Charter Revision Commission for four decades and was frequently referred to as the father of metropolitan government.
Giving back to the community was an essential part of Mr. Branstetter's life. He was a member of the Metropolitan Action Commission, the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union and served as president of the Council of Community Agencies. His life-long love of nature led him to become a founder and President of the Tennessee Environmental Council, and to serve as President of the Tennessee Conservation League and the Davidson County Sportsman Club.
While he loved his community, his law practice, and his farm, nothing brought Mr. Branstetter more happiness than his family. In addition to his wife, Charlotte, he is survived by four children, Kay Johnson, Linda Roach, Judge Jane Stranch (Jim) and Dewey Branstetter (Julie). He was beloved "Poppie" to ten grandchildren, Hayden Travis Mauk (Maureen), Fletcher Mauk, Dr. Courtney Johnson Kihlberg (Peter), Gerard Stranch (Patty), Benjamin Johnson (Tatum), Abigail Stranch Tylor (Nathaniel), Dr. Ethan Stranch (Dr. Nicole), Hunter Branstetter, Grace Stranch, and Austin Branstetter. The lights of his later years were his eight great-grandchildren, Anna and Erik Kihlberg, Gus and Teddy Stranch, Hudson and Aiden Tylor, Dixon Johnson, and Finnegan Mauk. Mr. Branstetter is survived by one sister, Mabel Adkins, and preceded in death by ten brothers and two sisters, and two sons-in-law, Donald Johnson and Dr. Ben Roach.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 11th at Immanuel Baptist Church, 222 Belle Meade Boulevard. The Memorial service will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 12th, at Immanuel Baptist Church; immediately following, all are invited to join the family at a reception in the church's Fellowship Hall. A private Interment will take place at Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to two charities that will carry on the work of his life: the Tennessee Environmental Council and the Morgan Scott Project.
Harpeth Hills Funeral Home, (615) 646-9292.
Harpeth Hills Funeral Home
9090 Highway 100 Nashville, TN 37221
Published in The Tennessean from May 9 to May 12, 2014