Charles Otis (Chuck) Branch
1923 - 2020
{ "" }
Share
Share Charles's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Branch, Charles (Chuck) Otis

Charles (Chuck) Otis Branch was born on December 22, 1923, the third of 5 children to Agnes and William Branch. Chuck grew up in the warmth of his close family in a modest brownstone in the Chicago Woodlawn community. Wise but always humble, he will be remembered by so many for his loving, compassionate, and generous spirit. Chuck attended McCosh Elementary and graduated from Englewood High School in 1942. Eager to join his brothers in service to his country, Chuck had no qualms answering the call and was drafted into the United States Army in 1943. In 1944, Chuck's platoon stormed the beaches of Normandy along with thousands of other troops. He valiantly fought during the horrific battle that doomed many before they even reached the shore. Chuck realized Christ spared his life when he discovered an unexploded bomb lying next to the foxhole where he sought shelter one night. Later that morning, he was baptized in the same foxhole. Shortly after returning home from the war, Chuck met and married Ramona Thompson of the Lilydale Community on Chicago's far south side. He was employed by the US Postal Service as a clerk/timekeeper and became inspired to participate in Discipleship from his co-worker/friend Andy Davis'; mentorship. Chuck frequently spoke of his decision to change his life and pursue his passion for following God. His love for Christ led him to become a volunteer with the church's prison ministry and complete his ministerial studies at Moody Bible Institute. Chuck and Ramona were blessed with seven children and several foster children. From 1958 – 1998, he and Ramona lovingly raised their children and several grandchildren. Their Chicago home was filled with music, parties, sleepovers, bible studies, weddings, billiards, ping-pong, and Chuck's favorite card games, pinochle, and poker. He and Ramona built a home filled with love where everyone was welcome. Aware of the importance of family history, Chuck and Ramona captured many moments on film – a treasure that continues to provide immense joy to the family. At 55, Chuck retired from the post office to pursue higher education and Christian prison ministry goals. He completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in Correctional Counseling at Chicago State University. He was employed by Lutheran Social Services as the full-time protestant chaplain at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. One of his significant accomplishments involved quelling a prison riot where inmates overpowered the guards and held four guards and four inmates as hostages. The inmates would only negotiate with Chuck who, after many perilous hours, successfully ended the stand-off without any casualties. In 2003, then-governor George Ryan, declared a moratorium on executions in the state of Illinois. The Medill Innocence Project, led by Northwestern University professor David Protess, was instrumental in exonerating at least 12 wrongly convicted defendants and freeing them from prison, including five who were on death row in Illinois. Chuck collaborated very closely with David Protess on this project and was grateful that the unjust and barbaric practice of prisoner execution would now be a thing of the past. In 1987, after retiring from Christian Prison ministry, Chuck received an invitation to help a new church just getting off the ground in Bolingbrook. After consulting with Ramona and reflecting through prayer, Chuck accepted the offer and became the Senior Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. He and Ramona then moved to Bolingbrook, finding a home close to the church. At the time, New Hope Baptist Church had a small but very dedicated group of parishioners. Under Chuck's guidance, New Hope Baptist Church became the fastest growing church in the Midwest Baptist conference. The church served its congregation and opened the doors to anyone in need of social support. In full retirement since 1998, Chuck continued to minister to inmates and others that were previously incarcerated, officiate weddings and funerals, and serve as an upstanding community member and positive role model for his entire family. Chuck loved to play pinochle, read, and he faithfully completed the daily Tribune crossword puzzle. He was known to humbly best the TV folks on Jeopardy and occasionally take in his favorite movies – gangster flicks. In November 2012, Mayor Claar awarded Chuck a key to the city for his many contributions to this community. During this last year, Chuck marked several important milestones. In April, Chuck and Ramona happily celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. On December 22, Chuck celebrated his 97th birthday. This past Thanksgiving Day, Chuck spoke on a family Zoom call about all for which he was grateful. "I know I'm not at the peak of health, but we are not made to stay here forever, and I'm so far ahead of the game. So, whatever happens in the next few weeks or months, I thank the Lord." Chuck's parents, siblings and daughter, Lynn, preceded him in death. Chuck leaves behind his loving wife Ramona, children Patricia (Marvin), Harold (Patricia), Ronald, Lora (Simone), Carl (Howard), Lana (Bekime), 20 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

Sign Guest Book at legacy.suntimes.com


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 3, 2021.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
JAN
7
Visitation
02:00 - 08:00 PM
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Chicago Sun-Times
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
39 entries
January 12, 2021
You will be missed, no matter how long you're gone.
Anonymous
January 10, 2021
Our deepest sympathy to the branch family. You are in our prayer. Pastor Chuck was such a heart warming man who was full of light. He will truly be missed.
Kevin and shasksia Brown and family
January 8, 2021
Condolences and love to the family of this great man who've always welcomed me and treated me as family. He has truly left a legacy in his lifetime. It's displayed in the diligence of his works and the kindness of his family (children, grandchildren, etc.). It's an honor and a privilege to have known him.
Aum Mu Ra
Friend
January 8, 2021
Rev Branch was a man of God a kind and Compassionate Man, his love for People's was from his Heart, my Prayer are with you Mona and the Branch Family
Cristell Martin
January 7, 2021
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
Plant Memorial Trees
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Ian Kelly
January 7, 2021
My heart aches for Mona and the family. Chuck was the Pastor of all Pastors. He was the perfect example of what a Pastor should be. He was the perfect friend. I am so blessed to have known him and will miss him every day.
Margarette Secreto-Mills
January 7, 2021
Condolences to Mona and the Branch Family. Everything I've seen and read thus far has been absolutely marvelous! Planning efforts fit for a King. So well deserved, a man of integrity, so humble and a contagious smile that would light up any room! May God give you and your beautiful family strength to carry on
First Lady LaVerne Beauchamp
January 6, 2021
Ms Mona and Family, Thanks for sharing Pastor Branch with me and my family he was such a joy to be around. A wonderful loving man. My condolences to each of you.
Vanessa M McGriff Culver
January 6, 2021
Chuck will be missed. We are Praying for your comfort. Be Blessed! and our Condolences
Scott and Mary Coley
January 6, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Jemia Laye
Friend
January 6, 2021
Your smile brighten our day on Sunday mornings from the choir stand. You will be missed but you will always be in our hearts and never forgotten. You taught us what "unconditional love" looks like.
Barbara Fiztgerald and family
January 6, 2021
Emerald Garden Basket
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Barbara Fitzgerald
January 6, 2021
Dear Carl, May the love of friends and family carry you through this difficult time. Always remember that your Lindblom Family cares for you and we are praying for your peace
Tracey D Wilcox-Wong
Classmate
January 5, 2021
May God give you strength to carry on
First Lady LaVerne Beauchamp
January 5, 2021
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
You all have been in our lives a very long time We miss you all and will
Continue to keep you in our prayers and May God
Continue to Bless all of you during this time. Love ❤ you The Clarks
The Clarks
Friend
January 5, 2021
I first met Chuck during the early nineties in Bolingbrook while looking for a church home. If ever you felt you were in the presence of someone who embodied the principles taught by Christ, Chuck exemplified that feeling. How could someone so gifted by Love, remain so humble in spirit. I’ll miss your presence here on earth, Chuck, and long for the day we’ll be enjoying each other’s company again.
Elbert “Al” Mills
Friend
January 5, 2021
Sympathy gifts were selected in loving memory of Charles Otis (Chuck) Branch. To send a gift visit our online store.
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Denise Coleman
January 5, 2021
Sympathy gifts were selected in loving memory of Charles Otis (Chuck) Branch. To send a gift visit our online store.
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Denise Coleman
January 5, 2021
May God continue to bless you. I am sending an abundance love and light. Mr Branch was like a 2nd father to me. I will always cherish our wonderful conversations when I would visit Bolingbrook. I can still hear his welcoming voice when he greeted me by name and a smile. Love is eternal and never dies. Sending my love and gratitude to Mrs. Branch, and the entire family for openly inviting me into your home and ❤
Daniel
Daniel Lewis
Friend
January 5, 2021
To the Branch family: We are sorry for your loss. We recognize that words are inadequate at this time, but we are thinking of you all. Mr. Branch's legacy is strong and will endure through his loving family. May you find peace in the coming days.
James Bebley and Tracey Ladner
Friend
January 5, 2021
Mona, my heart and prayers are with you. Chuck was a wonderful man and his gentle smile will be missed. However, we'll always feel the presence of his kind and loving spirit. My dad, Wayman Cloyd and I will cherish our fond memories of him forever. Love Anitra Cooper
Anitra Cooper
Friend
January 4, 2021
Our condolences to Sister Mona Branch and the entire extended Branch Family. Thank you for sharing Pastor Branch with us. He was a blessing from God to the New Hope Family. May this kind, loving and servant of God now rest in eternal peace.❤
Cecilia Freeman
January 4, 2021
Thank you Chuck for teaching me what LOVE looks like by being a living example.
Maureen Williams
January 4, 2021
Thank you for being everything to everybody. Personally, you are my glue to the family. I never felt so unconditionally loved. Not having met my Grandfather, your brother, I thank you for being evrything to me that I know he would have been to me. Rest well my Uncle Grandpa Chuck!!! Until I see you again, see you in my dreams. I love you!!!
Jeri Alyce Branch Adams
Family
January 4, 2021
Pastor Branch was a loving servant of God.
Shawn Williams
Family
January 4, 2021
My condolences to the Branch family. He was a wonderful man from what I've heard and read. May his memory be a blessing.
Larry Fahey
January 4, 2021
I will miss the man who showed me true love for everyone is attainable. His life and how he led it is an example for how we should live.
Patrick Fahey
January 4, 2021
Patricia and family,
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Rosalind Morgan
Friend
January 3, 2021
I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends. Although I’ve never had the chance to actually meet Mr. Branch, I have met and interacted with several of his children. I know for sure his legacy of loving kindness will continue. May God’s Grace and mercy be sufficient.
Donna Murray
Neighbor
January 3, 2021
Mr. Branch has left a legacy.
Gwendolyn Jeffries El
Friend
January 3, 2021
Lana and and family I am so sorry for the loss of your father. He left a rare and remarkable print on many lives. His love for family, God and people he worked with touched many as it shows. My heart and love in sympathy goes out to your entire family.
Melissa Lamer
Friend
January 3, 2021
Well done Uncle Chuck. I will mourn you until I see you again.
Harold Branch
January 3, 2021
I love you Uncle Chuck and I can see Jesus through you and your actions. We will carry out your legacy of love.
Harold Branch
Family
January 3, 2021
Servant well done! Mr. Branch was a true servant of God. We will miss his warmth and gracious spirit.
Ray Stamps
Rose Stamps
Cathy Stamps-Covington
Cathy Stsmps
Family
January 3, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person.. We will miss you Grandpa, we wish we could have seen you more but we know you will be watching us from heaven. We will love you and miss you always.
Aberin, Ariel, Khalid and Naziah
Family
January 3, 2021
My sincere sympathy to the Branch Family. I am honored to have had Pastor Chuck as my Shepherd at New Hope Baptist Church. Loving, compassionate, and wise beyond compare. A truly extraordinary gentleman who will be greatly missed. Theresa Love
Theresa Love
January 3, 2021
I was blessed to meet Chuck after joining New Hope. However, the Driskell family had an earlier association with Chuck and Mona through Robert´s Temple Church of God in Christ. Chuck´s ability to love all people was amazing and gives us all something to strive for as we travel on this journey of life. Family, we share your grief and as all who knew Chuck, we loved him and will miss his presence. He is where we will someday meet again. Our love and sympathy is extended to each of you during this time of grief.
William and Myrna Driskell
January 3, 2021
Thinking of the family and wishing them comfort and peace
Phineus
January 2, 2021
What a beautiful, life fulfilling story about a great man...Rest in peace, Chuck...
Noreen Collins
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences