Zelda Anderson Branch, age 88, of the Ashford Community, passed away on Friday, January 26, 2024.
Zelda was born in McDowell County on April 14, 1935, the youngest child of the late Kathryn England Anderson and Vince Anderson. She graduated from Marion High School in 1953 where she was an excellent student and even after all these years she still talked with pride about being a Junior Marshall. She gave her life to Christ at the age of 13 and became a member of East Marion United Methodist Church and later Concord United Methodist Church. She retired from Coats America in 2000 after 45 years of faithful employment.
Other than her parents, she was preceded in death, in 1997, by her husband Paul Branch to whom she was married for 44 years. She suffered a tremendously painful blow when her only child, Joyce Branch Moss, of Hickory died in 2010 and she spent the rest of her life mourning this loss, but in this loss her strength of character was most evident as she continued to live her life as best she could. She was also preceded in death by siblings Nora Arrowood, Merril Cogdill, Joe Anderson, Betty Owens, and Frank Fortune and her very best friends Joe and Jessie Sneed.
She is survived by two grandchildren, Jackie Moss and Wesley Moss of Hickory and four great grandchildren, John Swift, Olivia and Landon Gibby and Emma Moss. Several nieces and nephews also survived her including Jo Pyatt, Judy Putnam, Janice Allman, and Frank Cogdill who she was often quoted as saying were more like sisters and brother. Also surviving her is Eddie Sneed (Jon) son of Joe and Jessie Sneed who Zelda referred to as “the son I never had.”
Zelda was a strong-willed and independent woman who was never shy about voicing her opinions and she had a phenomenal memory for dates of events that occurred, especially of those within her family. Even though her sense of independence remained with her throughout her life, she would not have been able to stay in her home without the help of neighbors and much loved friends; Eddie Sneed, Jon Jenkins, Scott Blackwell, and Karen English and her family; all of whom demonstrated what neighbor and friend truly meant. Zelda’s family is appreciative of all the many, many things they did for her over the years as well as to Debra Barlowe who provided comfort and care to Zelda and her family during her last days.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Beam Funeral Service with Rev. Philip Tate and Jo Pyatt officiating. The family will receive friends from 2:00 until 3:00 p.m. Burial will be private at Ashford Community Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Ashford Community Fire Department, of which her husband was an active member. Memorials may be sent to 15640 US 221 North, Marion, NC c/o Jeffery Wheeler, Treasurer.