COLUMBIA, SC Chamberlain Branch Sr. brought extraordinary gifts to caring for two families and two mansions, said friends, family and members of three S.C. first families Tuesday as they mourned his death.
Branch, Chaney to many, worked as the S.C. Governors Mansion supervisor for 10 years under Gov. Nikki Haley, and former Govs. Jim Hodges and Mark Sanford.
The three governors and their families attended Branchs funeral service or homegoing Tuesday at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
We have shed many tears over the loss of Chamberlain, Haley said. We are better people for knowing him.
Branch showed her children unselfish kindness that will last a lifetime, she said.
Branch, 48, died early Friday morning after a man fleeing police crashed his car into Branchs minivan in downtown Columbia. Both men died at the scene.
Surviving Branch are his three children and wife, Cherisse, who told mourners, There never was a time when (Branch) didnt make time for others.
Hodges and former first lady Jenny Sanford also made remarks, recalling light-hearted and funny stories about Branch.
Branch was part of the institution and culture of the mansion, making people feel at home, Hodges said.
Sanford said Branchs calm demeanor balanced with her high idle in the household.
Branch could be counted on to deal with intoxicated guests, a Sanford child stuck in a dryer in a game of hide-and-seek or a rodent waking guests, she said. Chamberlain took it all in stride.
Chamberlain also consoled her one day when he saw her crying for reasons that are now very obvious, Sanford said to a burst of laughter from those gathered, a reference to Gov. Sanfords affair with an Argentine woman.
While working at the mansion for the states first families, Branch was also working on his own mansion taxpayers had nothing to do with a spiritual one, said the Rev. Anthony McCallum.
Branch was an active church member, serving as a trustee, singing in the choir, taking leadership roles with the churchs marriage and youth ministries, and helping with vacation Bible school and Sunday school.
Ending the service, McCallum noted how Branchs death brought together his two homes.
He was a man who served others in high places, now they come and say to him, Thank you, the minister said. Isnt that amazing, how God brings people together?
Reach Self at (803)-771-8658