Published in The Washington Post on May 31, 2017
Roy Lee Branham, Sr.
Sr. Roy L. Branham, Sr., age 95 of Alexandria, VA
passed away peacefully in his home Wednesday
morning, February 22, 2017.
Roy was born in Clintwood, VA on April 28, 1921 to
Mertle Susan Whitaker and Odna Walker Branham.
Roy is survived by a son, Roy Lee Branham, Jr.;
daughter-in-law, Ellen A. Branham; brother,
Pridemore P. Fleming; sister, Susan A. Wells; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of sixty one years, Anna Laura King (Branham);
brothers, William E. Branham, John P. Branham, James R. Branham and Lilly M. Branham
and Joyce D. Parker.
Roy grew up in Appalachia being poor with a strong and loving mother, doing his chores
and not wanting to work in the coal mines. As a teenager, he joined The CC camp for young
men needing work. From there he enlisted in the Army, Company B, 1688th Engineer
Combat Battalion at Fort Myer, Arlington, VA. He earned the duties of firing squad
instructor, Tomb of The Unknown Soldiers honor guard and military police. Shipping out for
Japan, he said to himself as he was walking up the gang plank, "Will I ever come back
down this side again?" Roy ended World War II with Honorable Discharge, Good Conduct
Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Theater Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific
Theater Ribbon and World War II Victory Ribbon, and also expert carbine and M-1 rifle.
Back in the states he drove for A B and W bus line Washington, DC, where he met his wife
to be, and forty five days later were married. They made their home in northern Virginia and
eventually Roy Lee took a Mailers job in the Mailroom of the Washington Post newspaper
where he later retired.
In the early days of their marriage he bought his wife a motor cycle jacket and rode on his
Harley Davidson. They had fun in their life, went out dancing, had parties with family and
friends, played cards, listened to Bluegrass and country music, worked on cars and drank
some beer and watched Nascar races, No: 3. He also did all the cooking in the household
and made some of the best fried chicken ever tasted. The last six years of his life Roy went
out with his son to the Blue Grass and Blues Jam where he got on stage and sang with the
band, "Hey Good Lookin," "Down in Willows Garden" and "In the Pines." He loved his little
doggies, Sissy and Yummy, who gave him much happiness.
He was a loving husband and father. A good friend, Hunter Phillips, said when he grows up,
"He wants to be just like him" and Greg Rucker said, "He was one cool cat; he was the
best." The family would like to thank the guys at the Blues Jam and Nancy and her band,
King Steel Bluegrass, for sharing their music with him, making him feel on top of the world in
his last days. He also believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and is now together with his wife.
He will be truly missed.
The funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2017, at Demaine Funeral
Home, 520 S. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 with the burial to follow at Mount
Comfort Cemetery, 6600 South Kings Hwy., Alexandria, VA 22306.
Following the service, family and friends are invited to Famous Dave's BBQ, Beacon Mall,
6630 Richmond Highway for a time of celebration. Dad said "Come eat. It's on me." Let's
not forget, he loved life and thank you all. God Bless!
Demaine Funeral Home
520 South Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314