Adele R. C. Branch

July 17, 1931 - April 29, 2020

Adele Ruth Christopherson Branch, age 88, died peacefully early Wednesday morning, April 29, 2020, at West Hills Assisted Living. She was born July 17, 1931, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Edward and Amy Christopherson.

Adele’s artistic eye, gentle nature, quiet strength, and appreciation of the simple gift of another day made a lasting impression on everyone she met. As a child, she was drawn to playing piano, singing, drawing, and writing — talents that would define and sustain her throughout her life.

Adele graduated from Minneapolis’ University High School in 1948 and earned a BA in education from Macalester College in 1952. She taught kindergarten in North St. Paul and Chisholm, Minnesota, while writing daily letters to Lt. Harold Branch USAF, who was stationed in South Korea for the year of their engagement. They married in 1954, a partnership that lasted their lifetimes.

As a military wife and devoted mother, Adele raised four children while Harold’s career took him away for extended periods to North Africa and the Pacific Rim. The family lived in Mountain Home, Idaho; Rapid City, South Dakota; Kailua, Hawaii; Longmont, Colorado; and Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. Adele sustained friendships from each place, sending and receiving rich letters and books that kept her connected across distance in years before e-mail and long-distance phone calls were common.

After Harold’s USAF retirement in 1972, the family moved to a small ranch in Victor, Montana. Adele returned to teaching for Stevensville’s Head Start program and first grade classes at Victor and Lone Rock elementary schools. Adele was an enthusiastic advocate for early education and childhood literacy, known for teaching even reluctant students how to read. After retiring from the classroom in 1992, she became a literacy consultant, teaching the phonics-based Spalding Method. Adele was a lifelong member of AAUW and Delta Kappa Gamma, a society for women educators.

Adele became an avid quilter and enjoyed visits with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As an alumna of Macalester College, she was proud to see two daughters, a niece, and a granddaughter attend after her. She exercised her love of language in speedy Cryptoquote solutions and robust letter exchanges with family and friends around the US. Through Alzheimer’s disease and a stroke, Adele never lost her sense of humor or instinct to care for others before herself.

Adele is survived by husband Harold Branch of Victor, Montana; brother, James Christopherson of Ishpeming, Michigan; children: Charles Branch of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Robert (Robin) Branch of Bloomington, Indiana, Julie Branch (Mike Bejian) of Schenectady, New York, and Jana Branch of Victor, Montana; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

As a memorial, the family suggests donations to your local library or reading a book to a child.

To plant a tree in memory of Adele Branch as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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