MRS. GWEN MEIER BRANTON
December 11, 1928 – July 4, 2018
Gwen Meier Branton was the daughter of the late Rev. Carl H. Meier and Amanda Lueck Meier of North Dakota. On June 3, 1957, Gwen graduated from Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas TX, having earned a Master’s Degree in Christian Education. Her fiancé, the Rev. L. Ray Branton, also graduated from SMU at the same time. On June 4, Gwen and Ray were married in Perkins Chapel on the seminary campus. Gwen is survived by her husband of sixty-one years; by their two children, Steven R. Branton (Leisa) of Oakton, VA and Sarah B. Wilkerson (Wade) of Shreveport; by their four grandchildren, Matthew and Laura Branton, Melissa and Michelle Wilkerson; and by two great-grandchildren, Elijah and Naomi Wilkerson.
Gwen began her career in music early, as a child in preschool singing solos in the small North Dakota Methodist churches where her father was the pastor. After graduation from Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota, she taught choral music in elementary schools both in North Dakota and in Louisiana. She was choir director in six of the churches that she and Ray served. At Asbury in Lafayette, she was music director for a program that included multiple choirs and ensembles.
Gwen was a lover of beauty. Nothing thrilled her more than wearing the orchid her son, Steve, sent her each year for Mothers’ Day. She loved people. She excelled at recruiting and organizing. She remembered peoples’ special needs and often phoned them to celebrate a birthday, to share a sorrow, or to rejoice in a personal accomplishment. Although Gwen sometimes led her choirs in the performance of classics, like Handel’s Messiah, gospel music was always her first love in music. This love was born when, as a girl, Gwen regularly attended the annual Jamestown ND Camp Meeting. Gwen, a lyric soprano, had an exceptional solo voice. She especially enjoyed singing duets with her daughter, Sarah.
Gwen was an utterly devoted and loyal wife, mother and grandmother. The steadfast love of her gentle spirit lives on in the hearts of her family and in the hearts of her many friends and loved ones.