Hegel  Branch Jr.

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Hegel Branch Jr. 78, of Duncan, Oklahoma, passed away Friday, January 4, 2019 at Wilkins Nursing Center.

Graveside funeral services will be 10:00 A.M. Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at the Duncan Cemetery, with Ron Stough officiating, and arrangements have been entrusted to the family care of Carter-Smart Funeral Directors.

Hegel Branch Jr. was a Forth generation resident of Stephens County, Oklahoma, he was born in Duncan, Oklahoma to Hegel L. Branch Sr. and Marie Inez (Howell) Branch. He was a product of Duncan Public Schools. After graduation he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Tulane University, after which he worked as administrator of Plato Manor, now Duncan Care Center, then he attended Oklahoma University College of Law, where he earned a Juris Doctor Degree and was placed on the Dean's Honor Roll for Outstanding scholastic ability.

After graduation he went into the private practice of law in Duncan. Upon the advent of the new court system in Oklahoma. District Judge Arthur J. Marmaduke appointed Branch as the First Special District Judge of Stephens County, Oklahoma. On January, 1969, he took office and implemented new court procedures under the new court system, which are used to day.

On the occasion of the retirement of Judge Marmaduke, the day after Tuesday, election day, 1970 Branch ran for and was elected the youngest District Judge in the State of Oklahoma, at the age of 29 years. The governor of the State of Oklahoma appointed Branch to fill the unexpired term of Marmaduke, and Branch took office under his election in January 1971.

During his tenure as District Judge, he was appointed by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, as "Trial Authority" for the Oklahoma Bar Association to hear complaints filed against lawyers in Oklahoma, and to submit findings of fact and recommended action to be taken, including disbarment. He also served on the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary, Trial Division, setting in the Supreme Court Room , would decide if a judge would be removed from office.

In 1972, Branch was selected by the Duncan Jaycees as the "Outstanding Young Man of the Year", for his contributions to the community. Branch is a past President of the Stephens County Bar Association, the Duncan Optimist Club, Life Member Optimist International, Past Nobel Grand of Duncan Lodge # 45, I.O.O.F., Past Deputy Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, IO.O.F., Life Member of Of Duncan Lodge #45, IO.O.F., a perpetual member of Duncan Masonic Lodge # 60, a 32 degree Mason, a Shriner, a charter member of the Duncan Moose Lodge # 2202 and former legal advisor, a Legion member and a member of the National Arbor Day Foundation and Stephens County Humane Society. He was past Chairman of the Bluestem chapter of Quail Unlimited and past Southwest District Director of Quails Unlimited of Oklahoma. His pointer birddog, "Jester's Redwater King", was the 1991 and 1992 winner of the National Quail Unlimited Dog of the Year field trials at Waynesboro, Ga. and runner up to the N.S.T.R.A. Trials at Amo, Indiana in 1991. He raised and trained his dogs himself.

Branch served as Chairman of the Chisholm Trail District of the Black Beaver Council, Boy Scouts of America. He, during his high school, earned the Eagle Scout Award, the Explorer Silver Eagle, and the God and Country Award, and was selected to attend and join other Oklahoma scouts to go to the Baden Powel World Boy Scout Jamboree at Sutton-Coalfield England, where he met and spoke to her Majesty Elizabeth, the Queen of England. He also served on staff at Black Beaver Council Camp George Thomas, and Philmont Scout Ranch and was a member of the Order of the Arrow.

After retirement, Branch continued his love of the outdoors and traveled to , camped and visited every Oklahoma State Park, then settled down his remaining years as a volunteer worker for the U.S. Corp of Engineers at Waurika Lake, Wichita Ridge Park, where he was camp host, and bought and planted trees that live today.

Hegel was preceded in death by his parents; Hegel L. Branch and Marie Inez (Howell) Branch, his son Hegel "Twig" Branch lll, and a daughter; Heidi MaryMarie Branch.

Survivors include a brother; Malcolm H. Branch, nieces; Michaela Branch Smith and Jessica Smith, and a grandnephew; Ethan Bouse, and his companion Bird "Rainbow".

Online condolences may be sent to www.cartersmartfuneralhome.com
Published on January 8, 2019
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