THOMSON, Ga. - Don Larry Branch, former Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Special Agent in Charge, died May 19 at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in Augusta after a more than eight-year battle with Alzheimer's. He was 79. Born October 9, 1936 in Dublin to D. H. "Buck" Branch and his wife Grace Stinson, Branch was a graduate of Swainsboro High School and enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving in France for four years during the Korean Conflict. After returning home, he attended Georgia Southern College in Statesboro before joining the Georgia State Patrol in 1960. As a trooper, he worked in numerous towns and cities including Milledgeville where he met and married his wife, Christine Hooks in 1962. The couple moved to Jekyll Island and lived in Milledgeville, Louisville and Thomson over their 51-year marriage. In 1969, Branch joined the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and became the agent based out of Jefferson County, covering some 15 counties in east-central Georgia. As the Bureau grew, he worked out of numerous regions in the area including the Dublin and Thomson offices, eventually being named special agent in charge of the Region Seven office in Thomson. Branch retired from the GBI in 1991 after 31 years of service to the State of Georgia. He was a third-generation law enforcement officer - his grandfather, John Clayton Branch, served on the Dublin police force, his father, Buck Branch, was a Georgia State Patrol trooper as is his son Delston. The son of an outdoorsman, Branch was an avid duck and bird hunter, and fisherman, enjoying many days in the field and on the water with friends and family. He also enjoyed working in the yard, planting a garden and woodworking. Branch and his wife were members of Macedonia United Methodist Church in Thomson. More than anything, Branch loved his family and friends. From weekly dinners with his parents, family gatherings with his wife's large family, time spent with his children and grandchild, fishing and duck hunting with friends, and mornings spent at the coffee table at Michael's Restaurant, he was always happiest to be among those he loved. Christine, his wife of 51 years, died in 2014. Survivors include his daughter, Donna Branch Stillinger and her husband Victor of Jekyll Island; son, Delston H. Branch II and his wife, Bonnie of Washington; granddaughter, Grace Ann Branch of Washington; grandson, Grant Thomas Stillinger of Lexington, S. C. and great-granddaughter, Marlee Vonn Stripling of Washington. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Nancy Branch Bowen of Swainsboro, and numerous other relatives. The family will receive friends and relatives at a visitation Monday, May 23, 2016 from 6-8 p.m. at Beggs Funeral Home in Thomson. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 11 a.m. at Macedonia United Methodist Church in Thomson with the Rev. Katie Strals officiating. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. Pallbearers will be Teddy Jackson, Haygood Keadle, Doug Parker, John Seay, Mike Seigler, Jimmy Talkington, Daniel Thomas, and Stanley Thompson. Honorary pallbearers will be Georgia State Patrol troopers, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and any law enforcement officials. Memorial gifts may be made to the Georgia Chapter of the
, the United Methodist Children's Home or Macedonia United Methodist Church. Beggs Funeral Home, 799 Cobbham Road, Thomson, Georgia, is in charge of arrangements.
Beggs Funeral Home
799 Cobbham Road NE
Thomson, GA 30824
Published in The Augusta Chronicle on May 22, 2016