|Fr Branson's List of Food and Environmental Allergies|
Father Branson's 2017 New Year's Resolutions
1) WAKE UP--Begin the day thanking the Lord. It is His day. Rejoice in it.
Fr. Branson was born on October 4, 1958 in Great Falls, Montana to Airman 1C Thomas Branson (Omaha, NE) and his wife Janice( Vanceburg, KY). At the age of 2 months Fr. Branson started his nomadic life. Going where the Pentagon stationed his father, he lived in the following places as a minor: Ft. Huachuca, AZ; Vanceburg, KY; Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN (brother Timothy showed up here); Ft. Worth, TX (bothers Kevin and Todd showed up here); Bossier City, LA (brother Terry showed up here); Barksdale AFB, LA; Woodbridge, VA; Layton, UT and Williams AFB, AZ.
Fr. Branson graduated from Mesa High School, Mesa, AZ. He then worked his way through Mesa Community College, Mesa, AZ (Associate Degree in Math and Physical Science) and Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ (Bachelor of Science in Engineering – Emphasis Electrical with a minor in Mathematics). He continued to attend other colleges and universities while working after graduation: North Texas State University in San Marcos, TX (unfinished MBA) and Austin Community College, Austin, TX and Cochise Community College, Sierra Vista, AZ to gain more proficiency in Spanish (mas o menos).
After graduating from NAU, Fr. Branson went to work for Dresser-Atlas Oil Field Service Company as a Field Engineer running tests on and diagnosing oil wells determining if there was natural gas or petroleum in the well or if it was a dry hole. With the collapse of the US petroleum industry in 1982, Fr. Branson became an instructor at what is now ITT Tech in Phoenix teaching courses in the Computer Repair Technician Curriculum. After this Fr. Branson moved to Austin, TX to work for Motorola Semiconductor Sector in their Research and Development Center as a production supervisor and engineer. Motorola would design a process to manufacture a certain MPU or memory chip and run a pilot production line. When the bugs were worked out, they process was sent off shore. The exceptions were the computer chips for the Pentagon that went in military aircraft, missiles, etc. After Motorola, Fr. Branson moved to McAllen, TX to work in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico in a production facility for Zenith Electronics making televisions and power supplies. Father travelled back and forth across the border every day. For three months Fr. Branson was an undocumented worker or illegal alien in Mexico.
Fr. Branson, decided while working for Zenith, that he needed to make a “career” change in his life. Throughout his life, people would tell him, that “you would make a good priest” or “you have the demeanor of a priest”. This preyed on his mind as he was actually thinking about being a college professor. The seminary won out. Fr. Branson tried for two years to get a bishop to sponsor him for the seminary. One vocation director told him he was “too smart to be a parish priest”. Another told him he was “too Catholic and wouldn’t fit in”. Finally, the vocation director in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT invited him to come and see. Father went and stayed. He lived in a Formation House (former convent) in Trumbull, CT. He studied philosophy at Sacred Heart and Fairfield Universities. The next year he was sent to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, PA. He spent two years there. During that time he transferred from the Diocese of Bridgeport to the Diocese of Tucson. After two years, Fr. Branson was told he could no longer continue at St. Charles as he did not fit the mold for a priest on the East Coast – he wore green clerical shirts on St. Patrick’s Day, he wore cowboy boots and he rolled the sleeves up on his cassock in chapel when it got warm. Father came back to Tucson where he did a parish internship at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson. He then was accepted to Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corner (Milwaukee) WI, where after living through some cold winters – 50 degrees below zero with a wind chill attached – he finally graduated with a Masters in Divinity.
Fr. Branson was ordained on January 18, 1997, which also happened to be his father’s birthday. His first assignment was St. Ambrose in Tucson, AZ. St. Ambrose had 12 acres of buildings including a school. Father was Associate Pastor for 3 ½ years and Administrator for one year. He was then transferred to St. Josephs in Hayden, AZ; where he was Pastor for over 10 years, renovating the church building. Fr. Branson was assigned as pastor of the 77th parish founded in the Diocese of Tucson - St. Michael the Archangel, in November of 2011, to service the San Tan Valley area, tasked with building up the parish and the church building.
Over the years, Fr. Branson has had tried many outside interests. Among them: oil painting, carpentry, welding, playing the Scottish Highland Bagpipes (yes, he has a kilt, but it grew too small), photography, travel, reading, hiking, camping, Egyptology, riding motorcycles (three accidents), sky diving (one mishap), etc.Fr. Branson’s greatest desire is to remain in a place long enough to put down roots. As one member of his family has noted, “The only time you’ll put down roots is when they bury you.” Father’s response was, “As long as I’ve got my boots on and a cookie in each hand that’s alright.”