Ralph R (Brandy) Brandon, age 90, died on June 25, 2014 at Providence St. Mary’s Hospital from complications due to Alzheimer’s and pulmonary fibrosis.
Brandy was born on June 22, 1924 in Berwick, Pennsylvania to the late Sterling and Mildred (Kile) Brandon, the youngest of four boys. During high school, he worked nights at the ACF Steel plant as well as various other jobs to help support his widowed mother and brothers.
Brandy graduated from Berwick High School in 1942 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in June 1943 and attended the Aviation Cadet Program at Michigan State University. He then received his Officer’s Training as a navigator at San Antonio and Hondo Fields, Texas.
He was commissioned as a Flight Officer and received his Navigator Wings at Hondo Field, Texas August 1944. He was then sent to Lemoore, California where flight crews were assembled, then on to Walla Walla Air Base for advanced flight training for active duty as a navigator on a B-24 bomber.
Brandy spent four months in Walla Walla in combat training and then was en route to duty with the 8thAir Force in England. While in transit in California, his crew’s transport truck crashed and he spent 3 months in the hospital recovering from multiple fractures. Cleared for active duty, he was sent back to Walla Walla and completed an additional five months in training maneuvers with his second B-24 bomber crew. Transferred to an air base in California, he was destined for active duty in the South Pacific when the war ended. He was Honorably Discharged in November 1945.
While stationed in Walla Walla, he met Genevieve (Jennie) Lamperti at a local skating rink. They were married at St. Francis Catholic Church on January 5, 1946. They recently celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary this past year.
Brandy and Jennie moved back to his home town of Berwick, PA where he was employed at the ACF Steel plant. Three months later, he was laid off. Upon learning that General Foods was building a new Birds Eye frozen foods plant, they moved back to Walla Walla. He was hired as a fork lift driver in April 1946.
He advanced over the years “up through the ranks,” ultimately becoming Production Superintendent until the plant was sold to two former Birds Eye employees, Bill Dunham and Jim Kimsey, and they formed D&K Frozen Foods in 1978. Brandy retired from General Foods and continued on with D&K as the Production Manager, retiring in 1986.
Brandy will always be remembered for generously hiring high school and college students from the area. Every spring, he would receive numerous phone calls and visits and never said “no.” Many professionals to this day credit him for providing them with the opportunity to earn their college tuition.
After his retirement, he enjoyed woodworking and gardening, especially taking care of his 140 roses. He loved all sports, following his daughter Sharon’s’ volleyball teams through 31 years of coaching as well as following all DeSales HS sports. In later years, he enjoyed watching his grandsons’ baseball and soccer teams.
Brandy also enjoyed traveling in his RV and spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was a wonderful family man and was extremely proud of their accomplishments.
He was a lifetime member of Elks Lodge #287 and St Patrick’s Catholic Church. During the 1960’s he was also a district commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America and was a vice-president for Little League.
Brandy is survived by his wife, Jennie Brandon.; three children, Judy (Dave) Gallo of Walla Walla, Sharon Brandon of Kennewick, and Robert (Marjory) Brandon of Spokane; three grandchildren, Laurie (Torm) Siverson of Ocala, FL, Scott Brandon of Spokane, and Eric Brandon of Spokane; two great-grandchildren, Hayden and Camryn Siverson of Oxford, FL. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Elsie Brandon of Danville, PA and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his three brothers, Donald (Cocoa Beach. FL), Sterling (San Bernardino, CA) and Cletus (Danville, PA).
For many years, Brandy enjoyed his weekly coffee with his buddies, former employees of Birds Eye/D&K, and two of these longtime friends, John and Art, provided comfort and friendship to the end. Thank you both. The family would also like to express their gratitude for the excellent care he received from Dr. Rasch and the staff of Providence St Mary’s Hospital and Eagle Springs Memory Care.
Viewing & visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 from 11:00 AM until 7:00 PM at the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla, WA. The Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM at St Patrick’s Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation, the Christian Aid Center or charity of donor’s choice through the funeral home.