Jack Avant Brannen was called home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the age of 89. Jack was born January 29, 1930 in the Emit community of Bulloch County midway between Nevils, GA and Statesboro, GA. He grew up on the farm of his parents Rufus G. and Rosaline Bowen Brannen. He attended Nevils elementary and high school and graduated in 1947. During his senior year while only fifteen years old Jack was entrusted with the job of driving the private owned school bus that picked up children in the Sinkhole and Emit communities. Jack was active in sports playing varsity basketball and running the mile track team. He achieved the level of Master 4Her in his project area of health. Jack went on to attend Abraham Baldwin College where he obtained an Associate degree in Agriculture in 1949. On June 18, 1949 Jack married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Catherine Macy Anderson. To this happy union were born three children, Cerie Annette Brannen McDonald, Jack Avant Brannen Jr. and Wayne Anthony Brannen.
The name “Jack” suited him well for he could fix, improve or build from scratch anything that was needed to get the job done. Though he was born to be a farmer and, he was an excellent farmer, the severe drought of 1954 brought an unforeseen change to his career. As shallow wells throughout the area were drying up including his own, Jack and his father went to work in their farm shop and built a truck-mounted hammer-tool well driller from scrap metal salvaged from their junk pile of old equipment. Not surprising to Jack, the well driller worked and was able to bore wells to the limestone aquifer where clean water was abundant. This marked the beginning of Southeastern Drilling Company, a business Jack operated for the next twenty years. He drilled more than four thousand wells in Bulloch and surrounding counties while still maintaining and increasing the size and scope of his diversified farming operation. Somehow during those early years of his career Jack also found time to work for the Agriculture Soil Conservation Service as a crop surveyor measuring tobacco allotments all over the state.
Jack was devoted to his family, his community and his church. He joined the Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church in 1947. He was elected as a deacon in 1954, an office he held for 63 years until becoming deacon emeritus in 2017. As chairman of the board of deacons, he served as the project manager for the church during the construction of the social hall and new bible study wing. Jack was also active in his church as bible study teacher for the Beamon Newsome men’s class. He and his wife Catherine were active participants in the establishment of the PBYF youth program. In his community Jack served as president of the Southeast Bulloch Booster club and was instrumental in the building of the football stadium prior to the 1972 and 1973 state championship seasons. He served as a member of the board of directors of the Sea Island Bank (Synovus) for more than twenty years.
Jack was an avid sportsman throughout his life and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He especially enjoyed saltwater fishing along the Georgia coast. Time away from the farm often included trips to the North Georgia Mountains taking in the beautiful scenery and fishing in the lakes and streams near Clayton, GA.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife Catherine, his parents Rufus and Rosaline Brannen, his brother-in-law Dan Anderson and his son-in-law Francis “Buddy” McDonald. He is survived by his daughter Cerie Brannen McDonald, and two sons, Jack A. Brannen Jr. (Jill) and Wayne A. Brannen (Kim), all of Statesboro; his grandchildren Ryne Brannen (Heather), Jamie Brannen (Whitney), Kaitlin B. Daniels (Justin), Sean Brannen (Jessica) and Megan B. Tyson (Nathan) also all of Statesboro. Great grandchildren, Wyatt and Gracie Tyson, Anderson, Grady, Phillip, Andi Lynn Brannen and Adeline Daniels. Jack is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Beverly B. Rhodes (Frank) of Lawrenceville, GA, and a sister-in-law Judy W. Anderson of Wilmington Is., GA, nephews, niece and many cousins.
The funeral service will be Monday, October 28, 2019, at the Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church at 11:00am with Elder Randy Waters and Elder Bill Durrence conducting the services. Visitation in the fellowship hall of the church at 9:30am prior to the funeral service. A private interment in the family cemetery will follow. Grandsons and nephew will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will include all active and emeritus deacons of the Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church along with lifelong friend Gerald Whitaker.
The family wishes to express grateful appreciation to the wonderful caring staff of Ogeechee Home Health, Ogeechee Area Hospice and Fran Strickland for their tender and respectful care during this time of need. In lieu of flowers friends may consider making contributions to the Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church building fund or Ogeechee Area Hospice.
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