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Richard C."Dick" Branson

September 29, 1937 ~ January 27, 2021 (age 83)

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Branson, Richard C. -Of North Reading Jan. 27th. Beloved husband of the late Mary (Whitney). Father of Pam and her husband Chuck Merrill of North Reading, Paula Branson of Wilmington, Penny Maylor and her husband Ken of Danvers and the late Peter Branson. Brother of the late Ruth, Betty, George, Bill and Phyllis. Loving grandfather of Ryan, Eric, Taylor, Cole and Wes. Richard is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Dick enlisted in the Air Force in 1954, at the age of 17, and served four years.  He then began his civilian career as a bus driver for the MBTA and worked his way up as a union delegate.  He was always a passionate member of Local 589, he was eventually elected Local 589 President. He retired from Local 589 and became an International Vice President for the Amalgamated Transit Union from which he retired in 1996 and kept in touch with many of his union friends and coworkers.  Specifically, his longtime friend Mike Forrestall who left us much too soon. Our family remains close to his wife Ann. 

Dick enjoyed playing tennis with his friends in Mesa, AZ.  He took great pride in actively performing Honor Guard ceremonies with his veteran friends from the American Legion Post #27 - Apache Jct. /Mesa, AZ.  His Honor Guard friends, Bernie & Gordie, et al., also engaged Dick in helping raise money for many causes supported by the American Legion.  Dick made fast and long-lasting friendships wherever he went.  He maintained strong connections including childhood friends, union coworkers, neighbors in both Stoneham and North Reading, MA, as well as those in Mesa, AZ.  The day he would arrive home in N Reading he would call his longtime friends Helen and Kevin from Stoneham and say, “Call Ann and set up a dinner night”.

Dick never missed his grandchildren’s sports outings until his vision could no longer tolerate night driving glare.  Dick was so proud of his adult grandchildren and all they have accomplished.

His Arizona house would never have been maintained without the generous and skilled assistance of friends and almost “live in” handy people Galen and Sandy. Personally, Dick preferred when they came after dinner…

Also, Bill kept Dick “sharp” with regular verbal sparring matches. At first glance you would not know if they were friends or foe, but you quickly figured out their friendship and I am sure Donna enjoyed her time alone when Bill was off sparring.

Dick also had Diane and Alan across the golf course who would let us know if the light was not on at 3 AM and notify us promptly that dad may have slept in or shut the light off when he went to the gym at 2:30 AM!!

Dick enjoyed a very special relationship with his brother-from-another-mother, Ret. Maj. Gen. Frank Catalano.  Their bond was unbreakable and understood by no one else.  Gen. Catalano’s gracious and supportive wife, Marilyn, was grateful for her “break-time” when Dick and Frank went about their merrymaking in “crown style”.

Our Dad had plenty of enthusiasm and love for his four-legged grand-dogs, Owin and Baxter, whether for a pat or a walk or a treat!

Dick always felt rewarded by his favorite “stinger” (with WHITE cream de menthe only... NO green please unless desperate).


Relatives and friends may visit at the Funeral Home on Tuesday, Feb. 9th from 4-7pm. Services and Interment will be private. Due to covid restrictions 40% capacity is allowed in the facility at one time, masks must be worn at all times and social distancing followed. Staff will be on hand for assistance. In lieu of flowers please make donations in Richard's name to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516 or Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, 500 Angel Canyon Rd., Kanab, UT 84741.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard C."Dick" Branson, please visit our floral store.


February 9, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Cota Funeral Homes
335 Park Street
North Reading, MA 01864

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