NEWPORT NEWS - William N. Branch, 92, passed away on the morning of Saturday, February 23, 2013. A native of Richmond, Va. he was born on Jan. 3, 1921 to the late Norfleet H. and Eva F. Branch. He graduated from John Marshall High School class of 1939 and entered the Newport News Shipyard Apprentice School in January 1941. Bill graduated the Apprentice School in 1947 after a two year delay by Naval Service in World War II. He continued his employment as a certified toolmaker until 1951 when he joined NACA, later NASA
, at Langley Research Center as a metal model maker. He retired from NASA in 1980 after 31 years of government service as a Mechanical Engineering Technician. After a lengthy vacation he rejoined friends working at Modern Machine and Tool Company until 1986 when he permanently retired. Bill was a member of Noland Memorial United Methodist Church, the Wesley Choir, the Norman Millar Bible Class, Bremond Masonic Lodge #241, Newport News Scottish Rite, Khedive Shrine Temple, and Peninsula Shrine Temple. He is survived by daughters, Betty J. Branch of Newport News and Linda B. Lanning and husband, Charles R., of Anchorage, Alaska; one grandson Levi J. Lanning and wife, Jamie S.; one great grandson Liam H. Lanning; loving companion Sharon A. Smith of Newport News; and a sister, Frances B. Swartz of Pemberville, Ohio; and many loving nieces and nephews. Bill is preceded in death by brother Garland H. Branch and sister Margaret B. Bass. The family will receive friends Tuesday, February 26 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Peninsula Funeral Home. A funeral service will be conducted Wednesday, February 27 at 11:00 a.m. at Noland Memorial United Methodist Church, by the Rev. Jenny Day and Dr. Charles K. Root, with burial following in Parklawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Shriners Children's Hospital care of the Khedive Shrine Association.