BORN: August 6, 1927  DIED: June 21, 2012

"Just prior to joining the Navy during World War II, Ernest eloped

with his sweetheart, Gladys Geraldine Phillips"


Branam, Ernest Hager "Ernie", age 84 of Farragut, son of the late Rev. W.H. and Eva Mae North Branam of Peakland, Tennessee, passed away Thursday afternoon, June 21, 2012 at Parkwest Medical Center following an extended illness.

Ernest – nicknamed "Ernie" and known as "Bud" to his closest family – was born in 1927 to a pastor and his wife in Peekland, Meigs County, Tenn. He was nicknamed Bud by his brother Sonny, who died when he was young. Later in life, Ernest loved to share how proud he was to be the grandson of Eli Roberts Branam, a circuit-riding Methodist preacher who roamed the Smoky Mountains spreading the Gospel at the turn of the century. Eli's circuit of churches included Cades Cove Methodist Church, now a historic landmark in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Ernest enjoyed visiting and taking pictures there. Just prior to joining the Navy during World War II, Ernest eloped with his sweetheart, Gladys Geraldine Phillips, and the two were married. "Bud and Jeri" recently celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary. Ernest was successful in a number of endeavors. Among those, he worked in security for the Atomic Energy Commission in Oak Ridge, owned a security franchise in Kansas City, sold real estate in Knoxville, worked in the Knox County Property Assessor's office, and was a private real estate appraiser.

A devout Christian and dedicated father, Ernie was a longtime member of First Baptist Church, Concord where he served as a deacon, was a member of the Pathfinders Sunday School Class, and for many years loved singing bass in the church choir. He was a Navy veteran, having served in World War II. "Bud" would argue that his greatest accomplishment was the marriage to his devoted and loving wife of 67 years, Geraldine (Jerri) Phillips Branam; He is also survived by his daughters and son-in-law, Cindy Boyer, Cheri and Larry Burt; granddaughter Jennifer Boyer, grandson Michael Boyer and his wife, Shawna, (all of Charlotte, N.C.), and grandsons David Burt and Jonathan Burt (of Knoxville); great grandchildren, Seth Boyer, Memphis, Brooklyn, and Avery Martin. A funeral service will be 3:00 p.m. Sunday in the chapel of First Baptist Church, Concord with The Rev. Steve Peek, Rev. David Hyers, former music minister officiating. The family and friends will meet Monday at Pleasant Forest Cemetery, Concord for an 11:00 a.m. interment service with Full Military Honors presented by Volunteer State Veterans Honor Guard. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: The Handyman Ministry, First Baptist Church, Concord, 11704 Kingston Pike, Farragut, Tennessee 37934—whose tireless craftsmen helped Ernest so much in his last years, expecting nothing in return. The family will receive friends at the church Sunday following the service. Online condolences may be made at

Go to top