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Jean Mary (Koestner) Branson
  • Ministry with Community
    440 N. Church Street
    Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
    222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 100
    Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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“A kind and loving heart are my greatest memories of Mrs. Branson. Thank you for impacting my life for over 40 years. I will never forget the 4th...Read More »
1 of 23 | Posted by: Fred Ichniowski - Siloam Springs, AR

“Mrs. Branson was a great teacher and such a good person. I was a student in her 4th grade class at St. Mary's back in 1966-67. She has always held...Read More »
2 of 23 | Posted by: Larry Ichniowski - Cordova, TN

“I just heard of Mrs. Branson's passing. A kind and loving spirit are my memories of her. Giving me care and guidance during my 4th grade year at St...Read More »
3 of 23 | Posted by: Fred Ichniowski - Siloam Springs, AR

“I spend my summers on Gull Lake. One summer, between 4th and 5th grade, Mrs. Branson took her time every weekday morning to tutor me from 8 to 10am....Read More »
4 of 23 | Posted by: Annette English - Denver, CO

“The Branson family lived next to us when I was a little girl, they were on Bronx and we were on Waverly Dr. Mrs. Branson was a great friend to my...Read More »
5 of 23 | Posted by: Karen (Kasper) Koprolces - MI

“Jean and Ozzie were our dear neighbors on Gull Lake when we moved here 25 years ago. Jean taught me the love of gardening, for which I am forever...Read More »
6 of 23 | Posted by: Anne Couture Bob Solt - Richland, MI

“I am very sorry for your loss. My prayers our with your family. ”
7 of 23 | Posted by: Rick Bowling - Grand Rapids, MI

“Mrs. Branson still ranks as one of my favorite teachers of all time. She was determined that every student would grasp the subject matter, and went...Read More »
8 of 23 | Posted by: David Smith - Battle Creek, MI

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families Judy, Linda & Dan. No matter what age, the loss of a parent is difficult. The many happy...Read More »
9 of 23 | Posted by: Lou (LaScala) & Tim McGuire - AZ

“I am very sorry for your loss. Mrs. Branson's classroom was an environment that was always peaceful and calm. You felt safe, secure and wanted to...Read More »
10 of 23 | Posted by: Bob Ceru - Mason, MI

“Mrs. Branson inspired and taught in love, and her students loved her. I remember her professional suits and a loving demeanor, and think of her often...Read More »
11 of 23 | Posted by: Mary Ann Lucking - Culebra, Puerto Rico

“Mrs. Branson was a true lady of class and an excellent teacher. I am proud to say that I was one of her students. My deepest sympathy to her family. ”
12 of 23 | Posted by: Philip Cummings - Dawsonville, GA

“Mrs Branson was the first teacher I had that wasn't a nun. She was very kind to me and was the first to praise me in my schoolwork. She remains my...Read More »
13 of 23 | Posted by: Michael Smith - Lawton, MI

“Mrs Branson was like a beacon of light for me as my fourth grade teacher. The kindness and caring she showed to me as I am sure to everyone else,...Read More »
14 of 23 | Posted by: Teri Brown McDonld - lawton, MI

“Mrs. Branson was my 4th and 5th grade teacher at St. Mary's School. I have so many great memories of those years. What a kind, loving lady she was...Read More »
15 of 23 | Posted by: Fabiana Filiputti Brownell - MI

“I taught with Jean for the last two years before she retired and still have some beautiful things that she gave me when she left St. Mary. She was a...Read More »
16 of 23 | Posted by: Dannie Hickson - Kalamazoo, MI

“Mrs. Branson was a life time friend to my family and my fourth grade teacher who, within that year and with a lot of patience and skill turned the...Read More »
17 of 23 | Posted by: Fredrick Farrer - Kalamazoo, MI

“As a colleague of Jean's, I remember her as a loving, caring, excellent, and perfect example of what a teacher should be. Working with her was a...Read More »
18 of 23 | Posted by: zadie jackson - Kalamazoo

“I remember I couldn't wait to get to 4th grade because Mrs. Branson taught GEOGRAPHY !! She was an island of kindness. ”
19 of 23 | Posted by: Joe Urban - Naples, NY

“Among the stern-faced Nuns who educated the children at St. Mary's School in Kalamazoo there were two beacons of light, two women who dressed like...Read More »
20 of 23 | Posted by: Dean Sullivan - Richland, MI

“I am so sorry for your loss. Mrs. Branson was alway my favorite teacher. She was a staple in 4th grade at St. Marys-Kalamazoo. I am also happy that...Read More »
21 of 23 | Posted by: Patricia Lyke-Townsend - MI

“I echo Barbara's sentiments. I suspect there are hundreds if not thousands of former students with fond memories of "Mrs Branson" from 4th grade. My...Read More »
22 of 23 | Posted by: Jack Casey - Reno, NV

“I'm so sorry for your loss. Mrs. Branson was my fourth grade teacher at St. Mary's school. I later became a teacher and started out at a Catholic...Read More »
23 of 23 | Posted by: Barbara VanderKley Gingerich - IA


Stained Glass Emblem

Jean Mary (Koestner) Branson of Richland, MI,

Jean, age 92, died Saturday morning, July 5, 2014 at Rose Arbor Hospice Residence, Kalamazoo, MI and surrounded by her loving children.


Jean, the daughter of John P. and Ina I. (Keller) Koestner, was born on March 8, 1922 in Kalamazoo; she was a lifetime area resident and a 1939 graduate of St. Augustine Catholic High School. She furthered her education and received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Western Michigan University in Elementary Education in 1943. Jean retired in 1986 from St. Mary's Catholic School after 30 years of faithful service as an Elementary Teacher. She was a member of St. Ann Catholic Church of Augusta, MI; a member of the Ladies of the Lake and member of the Garden Club. She enjoyed gardening, was an avid reader, but the most important part of her life was her family especially her grandchildren.

Jean was united in marriage to Oscar "Ozzie" Branson, Jr. on January 1, 1944 in Kalamazoo and he preceded her in death on December 16, 2012 after 69 years together. Surviving are her two daughters, Judy A. (George) Carpin of Henderson, NV and Linda J. (Michael) Cox of Ada, MI; her son, Daniel J. (Susan) Branson of Harbor Springs, MI; ten grandchildren; sixteen great grandchildren; two sisters, Doris Reisterer of Kalamazoo and Joan Beebe of Hickory Corners, MI and her brother, Paul (Jan) Koestner of Hickory Corners. Jean was preceded in death by her parents and one sister and three brothers.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, July 10th at 10:30 a.m. at St. Ann Catholic Church, 12648 East D Avenue, Augusta (49012) with Father Christopher J. Derda, Celebrant and Deacon Michael A. Carl, Assisting. Friends will be received from 9:30 a.m. until Mass time at the Church on Thursday. Interment will follow at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta. Friends and family will return to the Church's Social Hall immediately following the committal service to continue Jean's life celebration with a time of fellowship and a luncheon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Ministry with Community, 440 N. Church Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, 222 Kalamazoo Mall, Suite # 100, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. The Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home, Richland Chapel (269-629-6022) is in charge of all the arrangements.