JOYCE OLETHIA BRANNON
BONIFAY – Mrs. Joyce Olethia Brannon, née Saunders, passed away peacefully at home with her daughter by her side on Monday, January 3, 2022, at the age of 95. Mrs. Brannon was born October 24, 1926, at the family homestead along Chattahoochee River Road in Seminole County, Georgia. She was the oldest of four and spent her early childhood on the farm, taught by her mother in a one-room schoolhouse, before the family moved to Hartford, Alabama, where her father owned the Rose Theatre. Another of his theaters, the Joyce, in Headland, Alabama, was named for her. She graduated high school in Geneva County, completed secretarial school in Dothan, and married Mr. Dewey Lee Brannon of Hartford. The couple lived briefly in Dothan, where they had their first of three children, before moving to Bonifay, Florida, so Mr. Brannon could manage the Bonifay Theatre for his father-in-law.
Mrs. Brannon was a homemaker and delivered the daily Florida Times Union newspaper. After her children were grown, she worked part time at the Florida Department of Children and Families (then known as Health and Rehabilitative Services). She retired in 1988. From the time she moved to Bonifay, she was active in the Methodist Church, teaching children’s Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She was a longtime member of the Wesleyan Service Guild and the Flame Circle, serving in various officer positions. Mrs. Brannon also chaired the church’s benevolence committee for many years and was a 71-year member of the Ladies Book Club.
She was known around town as a good cook and was famous for her pound cake. When Mr. Brannon and her father opened Al’s Drive-In Theatre in the 1950s, she made chili dogs and hamburgers in the snack bar that were so good many people came just to eat.
There was no one gentler and kinder than Mrs. Brannon, who got her way without ever raising her voice. Though quiet, she stood her ground on matters important to her. Even as her health declined after a stroke in 2017, she was forever gracious and never complained. She loved watching birds and tending to her flowers, especially African violets, at her home of 68 years on Waukesha Street. She radiated love and will be desperately missed by her family.
Mrs. Brannon was preceded in death by her father, Alva Cater Saunders; her mother Grace Sheffield Saunders; her sister Grace Evelyn Thomas; and her husband of 62 years Dewey Lee Brannon. She is survived by two siblings, Margaret Jane Potter and Alva Cater Saunders Jr.; three children, Brenda Brannon Alford, Lee Saunders Brannon (Judy), and Mitchell Clayton Brannon; five grandchildren, William Clayton Alford (Travis), Nancy Lee Rogers, Emily Brannon Stillwell (Kevin), Clayton Wayne Brannon (Amy), and Zachary Lee Brannon (Linda); five great-grandchildren, Logan, Ella, Jacob, Abby, and Waylon; and four beloved caregivers, Corine Steverson, Tracey Robinson, Cora Hayes, and Susie Smithson.
Her family will celebrate a life well lived on January 6, 2022, at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Bonifay with internment at Bonifay Cemetery immediately afterward. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in her memory be made to the First United Methodist Church.