James Burton “J.B.” or “Junior” Branum, Jr. was born on Jan 22, 1919 in Kopperl, Bosque County, Texas, USA to James Burton Branum, Sr. and Sarah Loucille Lain.(1) He had one sister, (Edith Bernice Branum) who died in a car accident at age 21.(12)(13)
J.B. first lived in Kopperl, Texas(3), but at some point in his childhood his family moved to Minco, Grady County, Oklahoma, USA, where he later graduated from high school, in 1936 (at age 17).(8)(9) JB ended up spending almost his entire life in Minco, becoming an integral part of the community.(10)(11)
Starting early in JB’s life, he suffered from a debilitating form of arthritis that made it difficult for him to walk, so that he was having to use crutches as a teenager and was in a wheelchair as a young adult and for the rest of his life. He also had diabetes much of his life (as did his father).(4)
JB attended college at the University of Oklahoma but did not graduate due to financial constraints (oral history says that he was likely going to be Oklahoma’s finalist for the Rhodes scholarship if he had been able to graduate) and he ended up moving back home to Minco. Due to his disability he was not drafted to fight in World War 2, but instead made a good living as a photographer, mostly taking pictures of young women in the area who wanted to see pictures to their beaus overseas. In time JB started selling props (sunglasses, umbrellas, swimsuits, etc.) for these pictures, which served as the beginning of what would be Branum’s Variety store.
J.B. married Roberta Edna Bryan on Feb 2 1946 and they had five children: Roberta Sue (Graham), Sherri Kay (Hill), Sandra Lou (Quaid), James Richard Branum, and Alma Kathryn (Paine).(5)
J.B. with his wife Roberta ran a variety of business, entrepreneurial and public service ventures including the Minco Gas Authority (founded in 1960, the first municipal gas company in Oklahoma)(6), the Minco Tag Agency(5), Branum’s Variety Stores(5).
Interestingly enough, later in life, J.B.’s widowed father (James Burton Branum, Sr.) married Robert’s widowed mother (Ruth) in 1957, making J.B. and Roberta not only husband and wife, but also step-brother and step-sister to each other.(14)
Beyond his varied vocational interests, J.B. was an avid stamp collector, photographer and reader (his home was full of thousands of books and many years of back issues of National Geographic magazine).(4)
Religiously, J.B. grew up in the Methodist church but later attended the Minco Church of Christ with his wife. Judging from his book collection and conversations with those who knew him well, JB was insatiably curious and not willing to blindly accept the party line on matters of religion or any other topic.(4)
- 1: FindAgrave.com reprint of obituary – See https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=87255537&ref=acom
- 2: Social Security Death Index (see below)
- 3: 1920 Census Record for Justice of Peace Precinct 4, Bosque County, Texas See full record
- 4. Personal remembrances of James M. Branum (grandson of J.B. and compiler of this webpage)
- 5: “Obituary of Roberta Edna Branum,” The Oklahoman Jan. 7, 1986 online at: http://newsok.com/article/2134597
- 6: Conversations with James Richard Branum, as recalled by James Matthew Branum.
- 7: Manta.com listing for “Minco Gas Authority” – See http://www.manta.com/c/mm0094s/minco-gas-authority
- 8: Listing of Minco High School Graduates for 1936 http://www.minco-ok.com/alum/grads_1907-1940.htm
- 9: Minco Minstrel May 28, 1936 “ALUMNI BANQUET WELL ATTENDED FRIDAY NIGHT” online at http://www.minco-ok.com/alum/3rd_meeting_193
- 10: Minco Minstrel June 3, 1937 “Seventy two present at Alumni banquet Friday” online at http://www.minco-ok.com/alum/3rd_meeting_193
- 11: Minco Mistrel June 1 1938 “MINCO ALUMNI HOLD BANQUET HERE FRIDAY P.M.” online at http://www.minco-ok.com/alum/5th_meeting_1938.htm
13:The El Reno Daily Tribune (El Reno, Okla.), Vol. 46, No. 154, Ed. 1 Wednesday, September 1, 1937, Newspaper, “Six persons killed as sedan bursts into flames after crash near Minco” (http://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc919364/ : accessed February 10, 2017), Oklahoma Historical Society, The Gateway to Oklahoma History.
- 14: Grady County Records – Marriage License #MLI-1937-00327 issued on April 19, 1957 for James B. Branum and Ruth Bryan. See http://www1.odcr.com/detail?court=026-&casekey=026-MLI+3700327
Name: James Burton Branum Jr
[J B Branum Jr]
Birth Date: 12 Jan 1919
Birth Place: Kopperl, Texas
Death Date: 6 Apr 1988
Father: James B Branum
Mother: Sarah L Lain
Type of Claim: Original SSN.
Notes: Sep 1938: Name listed as JAMES BURTON BRANUM JR; 20 Apr 1988: Name listed as J B BRANUM