St John Episcopal Cathedral
318 Silver Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
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Turner W. Branch

1938 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Turner W. Branch Obituary
Branch, Turner W.

We lost a legend, a warrior, a champion, a respected colleague, and a very good and decent man this past week, Mr. Turner W. Branch, Esq.

Turner W. Branch was born on August 22, 1938 in Houston, Texas to James and Juanita Branch. After a lengthy illness, he died in Phoenix, AZ on August 4, 2016 at the age of 77. In addition to Margaret Moses Branch, Turner's wife, friend and law partner, he is survived by Brian Branch and his wife Dawn Chavez Branch, children Nicholas and Samuel; Rebecca Branch and her husband Clyde DeMersseman, children Victoria and Branch DeMersseman; brother James Branch and wife Joni; sister Virginia Branch-Perret. He was predeceased by his parents and sister Nancy Huitt.

In 1956 Turner graduated from the Marist School in Atlanta. In 1960 he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico where he was student body president and a member of Phi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honors Society. He was also a member and remained active throughout his life in the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

Turner was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on active duty at Quantico, VA. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Ca. and joined the Second Battalion of Fifth Marines, First Marine Division where he served for three and a half years.

After an honorable discharge in 1963, he graduated in 1965 from Baylor Law School, where he was a section editor of the Law Review. He received the T.R. McDonald Award as the outstanding student at the Law School. He served as chairman of the Student Grievance Committee, was selected to Omicron Delta Kappa and to the International Legal Fraternity of Phi Delta Phi.

He returned to Albuquerque, N.M. to practice law in 1965. He was a member of the State Bars of New Mexico, Colorado and Texas and the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. He also served the state he loved as a N.M. State Legislator.

Turner was the founder of the Branch Law Firm, one of the oldest personal injury firms in New Mexico, and has been known for taking on challenging, complex and controversial cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, products liability, as well as catastrophic class actions and mass torts against pharmaceutical companies on a national and international basis. He was a board recognized Specialist as a civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the State of New Mexico. He has been certified as a Civil Trial Specialist since 1984; a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a Diplomate in the American Board of Trial Advocates; and has served on their Board of Directors. He authored and contributed to numerous articles, books and speeches in the field of personal injury and spoken to trial attorney associations nationally.

Named Baylor Law School Lawyer of the Year, Turner was also instrumental in shaping New Mexico law. In 1976 he was lead counsel in the land mark decision of Hicks v. The State of New Mexico which for the first time allowed injured individuals to recover damages for the wrongful conduct of the State. Turner also represented the State of New Mexico in litigation against the big tobacco companies. Recently, the Branch Law Firm® argued successfully that the discovery rule should apply to the statute of limitations governing product liability and medical malpractice cases.

One of Turner's favorite roles was that of grandpa, or Poppi as his grandchildren called him. He took time from his busy schedule to go to his grandchildren's plays, football games, lacrosse games, soccer games, basketball games, concerts, science fairs and many other events, too numerous to mention. Whenever one of his grandchildren came into the room, Turner's face would light up with love and pride. He loved them with all his heart.

Other than his family, his dogs and the law, Turner's greatest love was the UNM Lobos, he was also part owner of KQTM, (101.7 FM) the City's ESPN Radio affiliate. In 2012, the Branches donated $1.5 million to the University of New Mexico athletic department. The field is named in their honor. Lobo Football Coach Bob Davie observed "I knew the moment I met him that he was different and he was unique…….He's been relentlessly good to the people of New Mexico, and particularly the University of New Mexico and the athletic department."

Turner defined success as "giving it your very best at all times and letting others judge the results without paying attention to what the 'the judges say one way or the other'; but at all times keeping your eye on the objectives for and on behalf of the client. Unfortunately, success is measured by the accumulation of wealth. If you're doing well financially you're successful. I don't think this is a judge of success or not. I think success is being able to know you've given it your very best and looking in a rearview mirror of life and saying I did my best â€" that's success." Using that definition Turner was a success in every aspect of his life.

To Turner, family meant a lot more than a relative by blood or marriage. It means the people who accept you no matter who you are, where there's no hatred or judgment. The love of a family should be unconditional, and everyone should try their best to provide all they can for the people in their family, emotionally and financially. Family are the people that everyone deserves to feel secure, and comfortable with, even if they aren't lucky enough to have that. From his immediate family, to his friends, colleagues and even strangers on the street corner, everyone was Turner Branch's friend! Turner's family numbered in the hundreds if not thousands.

Honorary pallbearers will be: Rich Baca, Brian Branch, Michael Danoff, Neil Frumkin, Stuart Leatherberry, Tom Moses Jr., Joe O'Neil, Doug Oltmans, Ed Romero and Joe Stowers.

A Funeral Service will be recited on Monday, August 15, 2016, 4:00pm at the Cathedral of St. John Church, 318 Silver Ave. SW, Albuquerque, NM; a private family interment service at the Santa Fe National Cemetery with military honors will be held on Tuesday, August 16th. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the University of New Mexico Lobos Athletics,

http://unmfund.org/LoboClub To view information or leave a condolence, please visit


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Published in Albuquerque Journal on Aug. 7, 2016
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