Elaine Branham died peacefully at home, March 26, 2021 surrounded by family.  

Elaine was born on April 16, 1918 in Dallas, Wisconsin to Dr. Henry and Agnes (Jacobson) Wiger.  Her family moved to Rice Lake when Elaine was in 3rd grade.  It was then that she met her future husband, Roger Branham II who sat behind her in school. She graduated from Rice Lake High School in 1937, followed by one year at St. Olaf College.  She then transferred to University of Minnesota, graduating with a degree in microbiology in 1941.  Elaine and Roger were married on June 15, 1941, one day after her graduation at the request of her father that she graduate from college before getting married.

Roger’s father passed away the following year, so instead of finishing Law School, he and Elaine moved back to Rice Lake to help run the Rice Lake Grocer Company, a family business. Shortly thereafter, WWII broke out and Roger was called to serve his country.  Elaine followed him around the country, always finding work as a medical technologist, until he was shipped overseas.  

In addition to her work in the medical field, Elaine worked beside her husband at the Rice Lake Grocer Company, and later at the Bergeron Feed Mill.  She was a member of Fortnightly for many years, PEO Chapter Z for 63 years and enjoyed playing bridge in her many groups until Covid made social gatherings impossible.  Elaine was confirmed at Bethany Lutheran Church and became an active member of the United Presbyterian Church until a few years ago.  

Elaine and her family spent much of their summer at Lac Courte Oreilles near Stone Lake entertaining friends and family.  She started going there when she was 8 years old and passed the love of the lake to her entire family. It was well known that Elaine’s kitchen and cottage were open at all times of the day and night.  

In her nearly 103 years she left behind a love that was gentle and unconditional.  

She is survived by her three children, Dr. Roger (Grace) Branham of Stone Lake, WI, Barbara (Mark) Johnson of Rice Lake and Dr. Thomas (Lynn) Branham of Edina, MN She also is survived by nine grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren who called her Bonnie and gave them a role model for which they will forever try to emulate.  Also surviving are many nieces and nephews that she treasured.  

Elaine was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Roger Branham; her parents, Dr. Henry and Agnes Wiger; her brothers, Henry and Donald Wiger.

Private Family Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, April 15, 2021 at United Presbyterian Church in Rice Lake, Rev. Chris McCurdy officiating, with interment in Nora Cemetery in Rice Lake.  

A public visitation will be held from 9:00-10:45 a.m. Thursday, April 15, 2021 at United Presbyterian Church.   Appleyard’s Home for Funerals in Rice Lake is in charge of the arrangements.  

In lieu of flowers - memorials would be appreciated to the Presbyterian Church, Rice Lake Chapter Z PEO, Rice Lake Senior Center or a local charity of your choice.


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