Glenn Curtis Branscome died March 7, 2020, riding his rusty bicycle, binoculars around his neck, in a greenway near his winter home in Fernandina Beach, Fl. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Anne James Branscome; his daughter Anna Branscome, his sons’ Caleb Branscome (Jessica Sublett), and Nathan Branscome (Leyla Compani), and his four grandchildren, Sophia, Curtis Jacob, James, and Mackie Branscome, who were the delight of his later years.
He is survived by his siblings Mary Lou Meeler, Deleon Branscome (Delma), Ruth Carter (Jack), Ruby Nester (Earl), Marvin Branscome (Marsha), Bonnie Turner (David), and Ronnie Branscome, and was preceded in death by his parents, Ewell Elman and Addie Bowman Branscome, and his brothers Charlie, Walker, and Wayne Branscome. Curtis became a respected and loved member of Anne’s family, in which he is survived by Judy and Craig Nelson, Jo and Richard Wilson, Terry and Greg Whitfield, and Ned and Susan James, and was preceded in death by his second mother, Nancy James. He leaves many loved nieces and nephews.
Curtis Branscome was born at home August 17, 1945, in Halifax County, Va. and grew-up farming tobacco along the central Virginia / North Carolina line. As the valedictorian of his high school, he attended UNC-Chapel Hill on a full Morehead scholarship. There, in the beginning of his sophomore year, he met his future wife, Anne James. After earning his Master of Governmental Administration at the Wharton School of UPenn, Curtis began his career in the office of the city manager in Charlotte, NC.
In 1973, he became the city manager of Decatur, Ga. In his twenty years there, with the team of public servants he assembled, he laid the foundation for the thriving community it is today; one known for its excellence and integrity in public service, and advocacy for (its city symbol) homes, churches, and schools. He became the president of the International City/County Manager Association (ICMA) in 1988, as well as a founding member of the ICMA credentialing committee designed to encourage continuing education to meet the highest principles of ICMA.
After two years in service to DeKalb County he became the general manager of Stone Mountain State Park in July 1994 in order to prepare for its role in the 1996 Summer Olympics. He oversaw the transition to privatizing the park attractions, modernized the park infrastructure, and worked to make it welcoming to all Georgians and to visitors from around the world. Among his proudest accomplishments were the preservation and enhancement of the park’s natural resources, including the creation of an Environmental and Historical Education Center for visitors and for the use of local students and teachers.
Curtis believed that dedicated, impartial public servants are a vital part of good governance. In 1988, while addressing the ICMA conference as its president, he said, “We must be good leaders and at the same time good followers.” The ICMA Declaration of Ideals, with its emphasis on ethics, respect, responsiveness, and the balance of human, economic, and natural resources, summarized what he believed government at its best was about and epitomized his professional career. He was awarded the ICMA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in 2012.
As a father and a man of few but well-chosen words and dry humor, he modeled patience, responsibility, kindness, and the importance of work well done for his children; he was forever their rock when they needed him. As a husband, he was always supportive and made Anne’s happiness his first priority through daily acts of love. He had many endearments for her over their long journey together, but the last — “love of my life” — remains. In retirement, he and Anne traveled, kayaked, and birded together, and he read voraciously. His greatest pleasure was to tend his beautiful garden on a small farm deep in the mountains of western North Carolina. His ashes will be returned to the earth there.
In lieu of flowers gifts in his name may be made to the following:
The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
The ICMA Future of Professional Management Fund