It is with heavy hearts that the family of Frank Richard Branch of Big River announce his passing, which occurred peacefully surrounded by family on October 22nd, 2018 at the Chaleur Regional Hospital.
Frank was born in Bathurst and was the son of the late Lauretta (Whelton) and Richard E. Branch.
He will be sadly missed by his loving wife of 48 years, Karen (Targett), his children: Richard Branch (Jane Burns) of Big River, Ashley Branch and Meghan Poole (Mike) both of Halifax, NS and his loving grandchildren: Makenzie, Montana and William "Will", whom their Papa truly adored.
Frank is also survived by his sisters: Patricia Brown (late Rod) and Lois Branch both of London, Ont, and brothers: Warrine Parks (David) of Upper Derby and Kent Branch (Debbie) of Bathurst; his mother-in-law, Doris Targette (late Lloyd) of Dalhousie Junction; his brothers-in-laws: Doug Targett (Linda Lapoint) and Tim Targett (Marina Guitard) both of Dalhousie Junction; sisters-in-laws: Kimberly (Gary Luce) of Big River, Doris Targett (late Don) of Dalhousie Junction and several nieces and nephews.
Frank graduated from LeBlanc High School and held a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Thomas University and a Bachelor of Education from the Université de Moncton. Frank started his career as a teacher at the New Brunswick Community College Youghall campus. However, his strong desire to help people could not be ignored and on October 26, 1970, he was one of five representatives elected from the Gloucester County constituency to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. Then on November 18, 1974, Frank was the first elected representative for the new single-member riding of Nepisiguit-Chaleur. He was reelected in 1978, 1982, 1987, 1991 and finally in the riding of Nepisiguit in 2003 where he served as chair of the legislature’s Public Accounts Committee. While in opposition, Frank served on the Select Committees on Mining and Nonrenewable Resources, Mining and Renewable Resources, Fisheries, and Science, Technology and the Future. He was a member of the member of the Standing Committees on Agriculture, Corporations, Economic Development, Law Amendments, Library, Municipalities and Corporations, Natural Resources, Natural Resources and Fisheries, Procedure, Public Accounts, Social Development and Veteran’s Affairs. He was the former Income Maintenance, Youth, Health, Transport, Social Services, Supply and Services, NB Housing, and Natural Resources Critic, as well as House Leader. Frank was Speaker of the House of Assembly from 1987 to 1991.
Frank will be fondly remembered for his deep compassion for those in need. He could not rest easy if he knew someone was struggling and on many occasions he and his wife, Karen, could be found with rounded grocery carts filled with food to bring to those who needed it. Frank’s grandfather Branch was known as "father of the poor" and that humble kindness was handed down to Frank. His strong faith carried him through many difficult times, especially through his passing.
Frank’s family would like to thank Dr. Jean-Pierre Arseneau and all the doctors and staff for their thoughtfulness, support and care during this difficult time.
The family will receive relatives and friends at Elhatton Funeral Home (www.elhatton.com), Bathurst on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, October 26th, 2018 at 11 a.m. from Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bathurst.
Donations in memory of Frank may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or a charity of the donor’s choice.