Passages

​Billy Branch
February 3, 1928 – September 16, 2018

On Septemb​er 16, Billy Branch entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior. Branch was a faithful member of the board for 14 years (1990-2004) and elected Trustee Emeritus in 2004. That alone is enough to honor this faithful man, but there is so much more.

In the early ’90s, due to the increasing growth in field ministry and the overcapacity in Young Life camps, there was a great need to find another camp on the East Coast. In a 2004 Relationships article, Branch said, “We knew we would have to have additional camp beds to keep growth going.”

Dave Carlson, former vice president of camping recalled the years of searching for the next camp. “Billy, Lee Corder and I started looking around Virginia for another camp to try to have an equal distribution of camps down the eastern seaboard.”

Upon their discovery of Rockbridge Alum Springs, an historic 273-acre property with aging structures and overgrown brush and foliage, Branch demonstrated great vision and enthusiasm. “I thought, ‘This works. This could be a great camp.’”

He was a driving force behind the mission’s acquisition of Rockbridge in 1992, Corder said. “If it was not for the Lord using Billy Branch, we may never have built Rockbridge. He drove that vision from the very beginning and was there continually to make sure it unfolded with both quality and fiscal discipline. I believe that over a quarter million young people, who never met him, share an unspoken gratitude for what he helped create at that beautiful place.”

Branch was faithful on the local level, too. Besides his generosity as a donor, he hosted the Roanoke, Virginia, Young Life office in his building for many years, and generously shared his wisdom with young staff and volunteers throughout the years.

Our prayers are with Branch’s wife of 66 years, Betty; his eight children; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.