May 27, 1932 – March 10, 2020
Lois Lillian Brannan was amazing. With her sparkling personality, her joy of life and sense of humor she made life-long friends wherever she went. She was on a constant search for education and knowledge which she happily shared with anyone interested. Lois had a deep love for the nature surrounding us as well as for the fine arts. She was also proud of her strength and personal resilience, refusing to let life defeat her.
In the end, she couldn’t win the fight against Parkinson’s Disease. The toll it took made her too weak to withstand a mild case of pneumonia. In the evening of March 10 of this year, she passed peacefully at home, in the presence of her loved ones.
On May 27, 1932, Lois was born on a farm near Hampton, a small town in eastern Nebraska to Gustav and Renata Pohl, the second generation of German immigrants. Having grown up on the farm, at early age of 16, she entered Doane College, in Crete, NE. There she met a fellow student, a hometown boy and Vet home from the Japanese Occupation following WWII. In 1950 she married her soul mate, husband of over 50 years, Jim Brannan. Shortly after, they settled in southern California where he went to Los Angeles Mortuary College. This is where they started their family of four children, Barb, Cheryl, Mike and Steve.
Life soon took them to the lovely town of Ojai. Here Lois discovered her talents for organization and volunteerism. Example, as PTA president, she single-handedly established the library at Ojai Elementary. Once the kids were old enough to help around the house, she went back to school at Ventura Junior College and UC Santa Barbara, completed her degree, and received her teaching credential. She taught for the Ojai Elementary School District for a few years.
Again, life stepped in, taking them to Exeter, where Jim had the Brannan-Wise Funeral Home. While the kids went through their high school years at EUHS, she taught third/fourth grades at Lincoln Elementary.
Then, in 1973, having just lost their two sons to a car accident, they returned to Ojai. Here Jim went back to school for his credential. Life was good, both teaching in neighboring Santa Paula, they were able to travel the world--Europe, South America, the Caribbean, Canada, much of the U.S. They also completed a half-finished house of stone in the hills of the Ojai Valley, doing most of the work together. Many evenings were spent, with martinis, scoring (on a scale of 1-10) the beautiful sunsets from their spacious deck.
The Brannan couple returned to Exeter to be near their girls, needing their support while battling his Alzheimer’s disease. His fight ended in 2002.
Lois still travelled—most notably a photographic safari in Africa and a tour of China. Lois took classes at COS on subjects such as modern history of Europe and religions of the world. She became active in CASA of Tulare County, AAUW, League of Women Voters, Board Member and docent at the Exeter Courthouse Gallery, was an Exeter Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, Exeter Garden Club, the Exeter Presbyterian Church, Exeter Friendship Connection (a congenial group of “forever” friends), and later a constant attendee at the monthly Parkinson’s Support Group in Visalia. (She chaired an annual fund and awareness-raising walk for the PD.)
Aside from her parents, preceding Lois (in order) were her two sons, Mike and Steve, husband Jim, her older sister and brother, Shirley Doisy of St. Louis and Wally Pohl of Hamilton County, NE. Lastly, brother-in-law, Tom Brannan, in Bakersfield.
With wonderful memories, surviving Lois are her daughter, Barb Johnson and husband Larry, daughter, Cheryl Turner and husband Ron. Grandsons, Matt Johnson, Blake Turner and wife Leah, granddaughter Lindsay Mathews and husband Tanner. Great-grandchildren, Boone and Brannan Turner.
A private burial handled by Smith Family Chapel will be at the Exeter Memorial Cemetery.
There will be a Celebration of Life at a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations be made to either Parkinson’s Disease or Alzheimer’s Disease research. Thank you.
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